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MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -
If someone steals your Christmas presents, the chances getting them back are better than they used to be.
Police are teaming up with pawn shops using the internet to make tracking down stolen merchandise easier to find.
It's pretty simple.
Pawn shops use an online database with serial numbers for incoming merchandise. Law enforcement has access to the database and can check for a match nationwide.
Pawn shops and law enforcement are teaming up on the World Wide Web to help stop stolen merchandise from getting to pawn shops and the cash that's going into the thieves' hands.
More and more agencies are subscribing to LeadsOnline.com, a subscription based company that tracks pawn shop receivables.
In years past, law enforcement would have to physically check inventory taken in by pawn shops then check against recent stolen property reports to see if there is a match. Now, they use this nationwide database.
"We turn in all our pawn tickets and all our purchase tickets. If you come in and pawn or sell something today, it will be downloaded to that tonight. Local police jurisdictions have access to that 24/7," said Joe Campbell, owner of Joe's Pawn Shop.
Campbell urges people to know what the serial numbers are of their products so that a direct match can be made.