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Thieves Are Cashing In At Pawn Shops With Stolen Gifts

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FAYETTEVILLE — A holiday bounty is waiting in your house. Visions of gifts, gadgets and new toys are dancing in the heads of crooks this season.

While department stores brace themselves for gift returns, business continues to boom at the Cumberland Pawn Shop. December is its hottest month for sales, but it is not always for good reasons.

"We always like to make sure they have a receipt for their merchandise. That way, we know it hasn't been stolen," says owner Larry McPhail.

Every month, investigator Brigitte Kelley sees 12,000 stolen items make their way to pawn shops. If your valuables are among them, a serial number is a surefire way to get them back.

"A lot of people don't have serial numbers so until you have your serial numbers, you don't know if your property is going to be in a pawn shop," she says.

For things like jewelry which do not have serial numbers, Kelley says take a picture of it so you can have something to show police if it is stolen. You can also engrave your drivers' license number on your valuables for extra protection.

"The best people we can help are people who actually help themselves at the start," Kelley says.

If you want to burglar-proof your home, you can take advantage of a free program at the Fayetteville Police Department. The crime prevention team will come out to your home and tell you what you can do to protect you and your family from thieves.

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Shani Blount, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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