We all know that burglars aren’t stealing your stuff to decorate their home. Instead, they want to turn your valuables into cash as quickly as possible. In fact, that is the number one criteria when choosing what to take.
So where does all your stuff go? Here are the top five most popular places.
1. Pawn Shop
Burglars love pawn shops! They are the ideal place to trade miscellaneous valuables for cash without looking suspicious.
Depending on the experience and intelligence of the burglar, you may find your stolen goods at the closest pawn shop. Some burglars have even used their real name in the transaction! More experienced burglars will go a few suburbs away and use a fake ID or recruit someone to make the sale.
Looking in pawn shops in your surrounding areas within 24 hours of the crime could yield some good results. If you see your things, don’t tell the shopkeeper they are stolen. Instead act interested, ask to put them on hold, walk outside and call the police immediately. Let them take it from there.
2. Specialised Store
This is more time consuming but depending on the items which were stolen, you may find them in a specialised store.
If your jewellery is missing you may consider visiting jewellery stores in your area that say they “buy gold” or second hand items. Some of these places melt down the items so time is really of the essence.
You can try approaching the shop keeper and asking if items you are missing have been sold to the store in the last 24 hours. If you can provide an accurate description or produce a photo they are more likely to take you seriously.
Since the store has no obligation to disclose the information and police don’t have the manpower to search every store, you can only rely on the shopkeepers kindness.
If you have strong suspicion that a store has bought your stolen items, you should notify the police so they can conduct an investigation. Before approaching these shops make sure to notify police of your intentions so you don’t accidentally interfere with the investigation.
3. Craigslist/E-bay/Gumtree/Facebook Marketplace
Online consumer-to-consumer, e-commerce platforms are a popular choice for selling stolen goods.
Unlike pawn shops, online stores don’t require a burglar to make the trip in person and risk being caught on camera with the stolen goods. However, the burglar must acquire a variety of fake IDs, addresses and bank cards if they truly wish to stay out of the police spot light.
This method is reserved for either experienced thieves or amateur burglars using their real name.
If you come across an item listed that is unmistakably yours, do some digging and try to obtain as much information as you can. Do not contact the seller directly, you could risk spooking them. After you have your information, call the Police.
4. A “Fence”
You may have heard the term ‘fence’ used in movies or around the internet, but what does it really mean? In most cases, a fence is a well connected middle man who helps turn valuable items into cash.
Sometimes a fence can give a “grocery list” of items to a burglar that a “client” has requested. The burglar must then collect everything on that list to get a reward. Burglars like doing these missions as they guarantee money and usually pay better than average burglaries.
Your small time burglar will not have access to these kinds of methods. This method is reserved for more expensive and higher profile burglaries.
Sadly, the chances of you recovering an item after a fence has “washed it” is extremely slim. If your stolen item is a truly unique, the best you can hope for is to stumble across it years later in a high end jewellery store.
5. Drug Dealers
Different burglars have different motives for committing crime. There are 7 common types of burglars who can access your home and each has their unique traits. A study conducted with 400 convicted burglars revealed that 58% look for illegal drugs specifically. To read more from the study click here.
Some burglars resort to crime to pay for drug additions and as a result some drug dealers accept stolen goods directly in exchange for drugs. These dealers act a fence themselves and may use any of the above methods to turn your valuables into cash.
What you can do
There are many measures you can take to prevent the burglary and make your items easier to track after it has happened. Here are 3 quick things you can do:
MARK YOUR TERRITORY
Marking you valuable items can help you quickly identify if the stolen item is yours. This will both assist the police and make the insurance claim process easier.
CREATE AN INVENTORY
Creating a list will go a long way to helping you find your things if they ever get stolen. This will also help with insurance claims and police reports.
INSTALL A SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEM
A security camera system can not only alert you when a crime is in progress but it can provide vital evidence of the thief. Catching the criminal before they have a chance to pawn your stuff is critical.