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What Do Burglars Do With Stolen Items?

June 8th, 2017

If you’ve been the victim of a burglary, you know that once your emotions run their course, you have some questions. Who exactly was this burglar? Why did he pick my home? What did they do with my items? Did they sell them? Are my items that valuable?

Many burglars are savvy enough not to take something that they can’t immediately turn around and sell. They have some sort of motive—usually financial profit—so they have those aims in mind when they choose their items.

Once a burglar makes away with stolen property, he has a number of options of where to cash out on his newly gathered goods. Unfortunately for homeowners, some of the options make it even hard to obtain items once they’ve been stolen—or to even charge a suspect.

Pawn Shops

Pawn shops are one of the first locations a burglar will target, but choosing a pawn shop doesn’t come without some obstacles.

Police in many areas attempt to develop relationships with the owners of local pawn shops, this way owner will immediately alert authorities if criminals are attempting to sell items that were previously stolen. In some cities, pawn shops are even required to report what they have acquired and who they gained it from.

Pawn shops are also common locations for property owners to look for their items. If they find that their serial numbers are listed on items, they can regain their property. For this reason, pawn shop owners may be reluctant to purchase property.

But criminals aren’t so naive. Many will sell their stolen items to a middleman—who may or may not be complicit in the crimes—then this middlemen resells the goods to a pawn shop,so the burglar is not the main source of contact.

There are pawn shop owners that are not abiding by the rules. These owners work with burglars and have a relationship. These owners know that the items being brought in are stolen. Since most modern day pawn shops require ID’s, these burglars are likely using fake ID’s to get away with their actions.

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Fencing Operations

The concept of a fencing operation is older, many aren’t still active, but occasional fences are possible. 

In a fencing operation a criminal purposefully steals property so that it can be resold later. Popular locations where fencing operations take place are pawn shops, mom-and-pop stores, and organized crime groups.

These operations work by giving a burglar a list of wanted items, then burglars set out to get every item on the list. Once the burglar attains these items, they report back to the fencing post to receive payment. Through this procedure, many people unknowingly buy stolen goods.

Alternative Selling Options 

Burglars that are addicted to drugs and steal just to get more drugs might actually barter their items with a drug dealer. They are less likely to go through fencing operations or other high-level ways of selling their items.

Other common methods include:

  • Selling items on the street or black market
  • Smart criminals take their items to sell in other states or countries
  • Social media site like Facebook, or other classifieds like Craigslist

    Unfortunately, recovering property that has been stolen is rather difficult. The highest likelihood of regaining property comes if you place serial numbers on all of your property and contact law enforcement right when theft occurs.

    We encourage preventing theft before it ever occurs with home security equipment.


Thinking about home security? With a property crime occurring every 3.7 seconds, its important to know that you are 33% less likely to be broken into with a home security system. We provide monitored security at lowest price in the industry, $19.99/mo, and up to $1,400 in free equipment. Get Started Now
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