‘Pawn Stars’: What Happens When Rick Harrison and Crew Buy an Item That Was Stolen?

by Jonathan Howard
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Pawnshops are a risky business. Rick Harrison knows all sorts of things that can go wrong when buying, selling, holding, loaning, and all the other things he does. The biggest thing that these shops have to look out for, fake and stolen items. That same rule applies to the guys at Pawn Stars.

Rick Harrison and crew have a variety of ways to combat these issues. However, not everything always works out.

There is a procedure for buying items at a pawnshop. In order to verify the validity of items, typically there are a set of questions to ask a potential seller. Where did you get this? Do you have proof of purchase? What else can you tell me? Even when pawn dealers take all precautions, they can still get burned. So, let’s set the scene for the time Harrison lost out on $40,000.

It all started when a man walked into the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. With him, he had a pair of diamond earrings. Items like that are common in pawnshops, and especially Rick Harrison’s. So, after asking the guy some questions, he felt good enough to make the purchase. $40,000 for the pair of diamonds. Money that Rick would not see again.

The earrings soon came up stolen. Every sale from pawnshops is entered into a government database. Or, at least they should be entered. This checks across law enforcement databases to make sure stolen items are flagged as stolen. By the time it was said and done, the man got arrested, the victim got her property back, and the shop was out 40 grand.

“It’s the cost of doing business,” Harrison told NPR, “That’s the way I look at it…There’s a lot of high-end things I get.” Not all of them are legit, though.

Rick Harrison Avoids Illegal Items

So, there are certain items that pawnshops cannot purchase. Of course, these shops can’t buy any item that is illegal to trade. There are a number of items like that, but the Pawn Stars have had some interesting items come through the door. Even if they couldn’t buy them at the time. While people laugh about Rick Harrison’s experts, they do come in handy when it comes to items like these.

One of the items that almost made its way to the shop, a guitar made from tortoiseshell. These instruments are extremely rare due to the prohibition on the sale of tortoise shells in the 1970s. There are weird laws about the sale of these items. If they were made before the prohibition, then there is murky water legally on the sale. For Rick, it wasn’t worth it. So, he didn’t buy the guitar. However, he did get to see a really cool item.

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