Pawn Shop Customer Accused of Felony

Saturday, November 22nd 2008, 12:13 am
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Shopping at pawn shops can be great for bargain hunters, or an option for people needing some extra cash.

Terry Bannister and his friend Allen are bargain shoppers. It's what brought them to Cash America Pawn back in May and it's where they spotted a GPS for sale.

"I saw it there for $80 and thought, well that's a really good deal," Bannister said. "I've been wanting one for a long time anyway."

He bought it fair and square, and has the receipt to prove it, but when times got tough a few months later Bannister turned to First Cash Pawn Shop.

"Gas prices and everything else went up and I needed some money, so I pawned it and didn't think nothing of it," Bannister said.

That was until recently when Terry tried to get a job and found out he has a felony warrant for his arrest, issued this September. The alleged crime was making a false declaration of ownership to a pawn broker.

That law is one that Don Kirk, of Kirk's Pawn, helped write.

A form is used in all pawn shops. It documents age, driver's license and serial number of an item being pawned or sold, and a copy is sent to police to compare against stolen items. If an item comes up positive, it's confiscated, and a warrant is issued for whoever signed the form.

Kirk believes Bannister was able to buy the GPS in the first place because the original owner filed a delayed police report.

"If they wait four, five or six days and this report's already gone through the police department they've already checked it and it's not on stolen report, it doesn't go back through the police department again," Kirk said.

Which means when Bannister went to pawn the GPS, it then showed up as stolen.

"I think it's kinda messed up that it's pretty much possession, you're at fault if it's possession," Bannister said. "My biggest concern is this doesn't happen to anyone else this."

Experts say, Bannister's situation does not happen a lot and he did the right thing by keeping his receipts.

The District Attorney says, with that proof, the charge can be dismissed.

There's still a question of why it took so long for a warrant to be filed.

Oklahoma City Police were not available for comment Friday.