What are my rights if I had some autographed photos taken from my home and sold to a pawnshop?

UPDATED: Jan 26, 2014

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What are my rights if I had some autographed photos taken from my home and sold to a pawnshop?

I found out who was behind the theft, and they told me they sold the photos to a local pawn shop. I was fortunate to keep the certificate of authenticity separate from the photos so I still have them. Is there any way I can retrieve the photos from the pawn shop without having to involve the person who sold the photos without my knowledge? What are some of my alternatives?

Asked on January 26, 2014 under Business Law, New Jersey


Brook Miscoski / Hurr Law Office PC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What you have to realize is that pawn shops are usually required to keep records of who has sold items to the shop. In Texas, a pawn shop is required to take steps to monitor transactions so that criminal acts can be identified.

The upshot of this is that I believe the pawn shop (if it's a legit operation) would already know the identity of the person who sold it the photos...so if you claim the photos as stolen property, it's not exactly hard to figure out that the person who sold it may have stolen it.

If you're required to make a police report, claiming that you don't know who stole the photos would obviously be falsifying the report.

A reasonable alternative would be to demand that the person who stole the photos buy them back for you, or give you the money they obtained from the illegal sale so that you can buy them back. Obviously this will come at a cost because the items will be marked up...but it's a solution. An NJ lawyer may have some different ideas based on a knowledge of the local situation.

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