Pawning stolen merchandise
Regarding the stolen merchandise recovered by police at Rings & Strings. The article in The Dispatch was shared on the AP and ran in several newspapers’ Internet editions across the country.
Some of the comments posted were very negative to pawnbrokers. First I’d like to say that the facts weren’t exactly correct. We did buy a trailer full of sound equipment, but we did not buy a trailer. Second, the incident happened on June 4, not Aug. 4, and Derrick Henley is in jail in Newton County.
We were initially contacted by Newton County SO because we had called Peavey in Meridian checking on serial numbers of some of the sound equipment before we bought it … The Newton County SO came and took a statement, identified the equipment and then arrested Derrick Henley. We had him on video as well as having his drivers license info. Later they came and picked up the equipment and returned it to the owner.
We do our best to be sure the things that we buy are not stolen. Derrick Henley hung around the store … for a total of about two hours while we tested out all the equipment. He was in no hurry and didn’t act nervous or suspicious at all. He gave us his legitimate drivers license, and we had him on video the whole time. It wouldn’t make much sense for us to invest money into something we thought was stolen and then turn it in to the police. National statistics show that less than one-tenth of one percent of stolen items end up in pawn shops. Thieves know we require ID’s.
I am very happy that the person got his sound equipment back as that is how he makes his living, and grateful to the Columbus Police Department for getting involved in charging Derrick Henley with selling stolen merchandise so that we have a chance to recover our money. It is difficult to prove that a person stole something without some kind of direct evidence; they can simply say that they bought it from someone or “found” it, and the police have to prove otherwise. It will be much easier to prove that he sold the stolen equipment. Because all pawn shops report to law enforcement everything that we buy or pawn, law enforcement is able to track down stolen items. Unfortunately, as is most often the case, Derrick Henley sold the trailer on the street, and it will likely never be recovered.
I am grateful to my friends who do not read just the headlines and assume that I am dealing in stolen items.
Rings & Strings
Editor’s note: The information reported came directly from the Columbus Police Department. Rings & Strings was not implicated in the crime.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.