Pawn Detective

The city of Fridley Police Department has a detective assigned full time to work on pawn related issues. The pawn detective assignment is funded in part by funds generated by the licensed pawn shops in the city. Each time a transaction is completed at the pawn shop a small fee is collected to help offset the costs of the position. The detective is responsible for enforcing state statutes and city ordinances as they relate to pawn shops located in the city of Fridley. Duties include monitoring all transactions to make sure they are properly documented and the required information is provided. The detective also performs inspections at the stores to verify serial numbers are accurately documented and to make sure the stores are operating within the law. During down time the detective may also monitor the traffic coming and going from the two pawn shops in the city for intelligence gathering purposes.

One of the tools used by the pawn detective is the Automated Property System, sometimes called the Automated Pawn System or A.P.S. This system is owned and operated by the Minneapolis Police Department and the city of Fridley pays a fee to access it. Transaction data including demographic and property descriptions are entered into pawn software for each transaction occurring at pawn shops in Minnesota and most of Wisconsin. This data is then uploaded to the A.P.S. server in Minneapolis every night after the stores close. Officers from around the state can then pay a fee to have access to that information.

For example, a detective in Anoka is assigned a burglary case in which several electronic items are stolen. The detective can log onto A.P.S. and search serial numbers and or descriptions to see if any matching property has been pawned. If a match is located, the detective can place the item on a police hold and later confiscate it from the pawn shop and return it to the victim. The investigator will have a good lead because the individual who pawned the item had to have provided a state issued identification in order to process the transaction. In addition, if the person who pawned the stolen item cannot be proven to have stolen it, they will in most cases be charged by our pawn detective with the Fridley ordinance violation of pawning the property of another if the transaction occurred in Fridley.

The Fridley pawn detective monitors all property confiscations from outside law enforcement agencies. After reports are obtained from the agency that confiscated the stolen property, our detective then cites the person who pawned the stolen property for that offense occurring in Fridley. In 2013, for example, 118 people were cited by our pawn detective for city code violation 31.15.1: Pawning the property of another. That code states, in part:   

1. No person may pawn, pledge, sell, leave, or deposit any article of property not their own;

nor shall any person offer or attempt to pawn, pledge, sell, leave, or deposit the property of

another, whether with permission or without, nor shall any person pawn, pledge, sell, leave or

deposit any article of property in which another has a security interest; with any licensee. (Ref1240)

2. No minor may pawn, pledge, sell, leave, or deposit any article of property with any


3. No person may pawn, pledge, sell, leave, or deposit any article of property with any

licensee without first having presented an acceptable form of identification.

4. All licensees shall by adequate signage and separate written notice inform persons

seeking to pawn, pledge, sell, leave, or deposit articles of property with the licensee of the

foregoing requirements.

For the purpose of this section “adequate signage” shall be deemed to mean at least one sign, of not less than four (4) square feet in surface area, comprised of lettering of not less than three quarters (3/4) of an inch in height, posted in a conspicuous place on the licensed premises and stating substantially the following:







For the purpose of this section “separate written notice” shall be deemed to mean either the

receipt, as required in Section 31.12.5, or a printed form, incorporating a statement to the effect that the person pawning, pledging, selling, leaving, or depositing the article is at least eighteen (18) years of age; is the true owner of the article; and that the article is free of all claims and liens; which is acknowledged by way of signature of the person pawning, pledging, selling, leaving, or depositing the article.

5. No person seeking to pawn, pledge, sell, leave, or deposit any article of property with any

licensee shall give a false or fictitious name; nor give a false date of birth; nor give a false or out of date address of residence or telephone number; no present a false driver’s license or identification card; to any licensee.

Click here to view the entire pawn ordinance.

In addition to pawn related violations, 145 additional citations were issued by the pawn detective in 2013. A large number of those were issued in and around the two pawn shops for driver's license, motor vehicle registration, and insurance violations. Our detective believes that a known presence around the Fridley stores will help deter people who intend to offload stolen merchandise from frequenting our jurisdiction.

In addition to the above duties, our pawn detective works property related cases such as thefts and burglaries. Using the Automated Pawn System has helped solve several of these cases and led to successful prosecutions of thieves and burglars.

If you have any questions about the pawn detective position or pawn related issues you can contact us at (763) 572-3629.