‘Pawn Stars’: Why Rick Harrison, His Team Document Every Customer’s Info and Turn It In to Police

by Keeli Parkey

During his many years in his business, “Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison has seen a lot of things. So, it’s not all that surprising that he would be very cautious when someone comes into his shop with something to sell.

Thanks to his many years of his experience, Harrison has developed a keen eye for many of the types of items that come through his pawnshop. According to a 2011 interview he gave to NPR, the 56-year-old “has become an expert at assessing the value of Gibson guitars, Rolex watches, diamonds — as well as regular household items like drills, cameras and home electronics.”

When you are dealing with people you don’t know, it’s wise to be cautious. And, according to the “Pawn Star” star, the cautious steps he takes are also following the regulations set out for businesses such as his by the government.

“Most people don’t realize how regulated the pawn industry is, especially where I’m at in Nevada,” Rick Harrison said in 2011.

These regulations involve much more than just looking at a potential seller’s identification. The “Pawn Stars” star does much more than that. And, the information he collects is passed on to federal officials. Doing so protects him, as well as keeps him in compliance with federal law.

“When I take something in pawn or I buy something, I just don’t take (an) ID. I take their driver’s license number, their height, their weight, their eye color, their build,” Harrison also explained. “I turn that into the local police department, and then I also turn it into Homeland Security. It’s part of the Patriot Act, and that goes to a central database online across the United States that checks for stolen items.”

‘Pawn Stars’ Star Rick Harrison Once Lost Tens of Thousands of Dollars In a Sell

It’s not surprising that “Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison would want to be cautious when buying items off of the sellers who come into his store. He once took a hit of tens of thousands of dollars after he unknowingly purchased stolen items.

This undoubtedly stressful event took place two years before this interview with NPR. As Harrison recounted it, a seller entered his store and wanted to sell diamond earrings. So, the “Pawn Stars” star asked him about the earrings. He wanted to know where he acquired them and if he had a receipt for them. The man answered the questions satisfactorily, so Harrison bought the earrings. The price tag was $40,000.

Unfortunately, he soon found out that the earrings had been stolen. They were returned to their rightful owner. The seller was charged. However, Harrison lost his $40,000.

“It’s the cost of doing business. That’s the way I look at it. … And Las Vegas is a crazy town at times. There’s a lot of high-end things I get. So you have to know about … really large diamonds, really expensive watches. … So it’s a lot different than most places,” Rick Harrison said.

Harrison appeared on NPR while promoting his memoir, “License to Pawn.”