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Cover 04/17/2013

Cash for stolen gold

Do Florida’s pawnbroking laws further victimize victims of crime?

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

“We, just like her, are the victims in this process,” he says. “We are holding merchandise we cannot sell, and we paid money for it.”

He says that most people whose homes are burglarized never see their valuables again. “She’s lucky enough to have some chance of recovery because the merchandise is here,” he says.

He sent her a letter dated March 18 stating, “We regret that this theft occurred to you with the perpetrator taking advantage of the fact that you were hospitalized.”

However, he wrote, Monarch purchased the items “in good faith” and suggested that Noblett “focus on the person that actually committed the crime,” rather than on the store. “My understanding is that you are allowed to repurchase the items for what we paid for them,” he closes. “Should you wish to do so, we can make arrangements for payment.”

Johnathan Gray appears to be the person Przeclawski thinks Noblett should focus on. He was arrested on Feb. 12 for burglary, larceny, dealing in stolen property and making fraudulent claims to Monarch about the stolen items. His court date is set for May 29 in Seminole County. Though calls to Casselberry police were not returned, according to the few documents available on Noblett’s case (police declined to release the entire case file because the situation is still under investigation), Detective Willis ran a search on the names of two additional people who lived in the same house next door – Lacy Anderson and Lucas Diaz – and, according to a police report, that search revealed “a pawn transaction that occurred 2/8/2013 at 11:50 hours. Anderson pawned miscellaneous gold jewelry which the victim later identified as belonging to her.” Anderson was arrested in Orange County on March 4 for dealing in stolen property and violation of a pawn statute.

The items Anderson pawned turned up at Sergio’s Fine Jewelry on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, and the day Noblett showed up with a police officer to identify them, she says she was asked by the woman working at the counter whether she’d be “buying them back that day.” Noblett says she will not pay to recover her own stuff. She’s filed a replevin action against Monarch in Seminole County, and she says she’s working on the paperwork to take Sergio’s to court, too.

On April 11, Shelly Noblett is standing on the sidewalk of an East Orlando strip mall where a business called Cash Pawn is located. Her arm is in a sling, and with her middle-class mom demeanor, she looks a little out of place in this environment. On one side of the mall, a bunch of kids practice skater tricks on a concrete half-wall; on the other side, a couple of guys in dingy white T-shirts sit on the sidewalk outside a convenience store and argue loudly. They might be drunk.

The signs posted in Cash Pawn’s windows are in English and Spanish, and they announce that the shop will buy and loan on electronics, bikes, tools and more. Customers have to wait outside the front door to be buzzed in by someone at the counter. When an Orlando police officer arrives, she escorts Noblett into the store; half an hour later, they exit again. Noblett is empty-handed.

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