The Utah Attorney General’s Office received permission from the courts to return a substantial amount of property to the retailers victimized by the recent pawn shop scheme.
In August, the Attorney General’s Office filed felony charges against the manager of West Jordan Xtreme Pawn for a continuing pattern of buying and selling property with the knowledge that the merchandise had been stolen from various retail businesses in Utah. During the investigation, investigators seized an estimated $1.2 million in brand new merchandise, still in their original packaging.
On Friday, October 11th, property seized during this investigation was returned to the original retailers. Roughly one pickup truckload of merchandise identified as belonging to Home Depot will be delivered to their Riverdale Store at 12 PM.
FELONY CHARGES/STOLEN MERCHANDISE SEIZED: PART OF INVESTIGATION OF ON-GOING RETAIL THEFT/PAWN RESALE CASE $1.2 Million of Stolen Merchandise Seized
Background: Utah retailers are experiencing a trend of continuous and severe retail theft from their stores, where persons (who often admit to opioid/heroin addiction) steal merchandise with the intent of selling it to buy more drugs. The following case focuses on a pawn shop whose manager and employees bought thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise and then resold it at a profit, knowing it was stolen from the retailers and that the money exchanged would be likely used to purchase more drugs. This case is one arrest in a growing and serious problem which is costing the retailers and consumers millions of dollars this year.
WEST JORDAN –The Utah Attorney General’s office has filed eight felony charges against John ‘Johnny’ Jones, manager of West Jordan Xtreme Pawn,for a continuing pattern of buying and selling property with the knowledge that the merchandise was stolen from various retail businesses in Utah. Detectives seized an estimated $1.2 million in brand new in-the-box merchandise when warrants were served during the investigation.
As the result of a criminal investigation, undercover officers stated that they witnessed transactions where property was sold to Xtreme Pawn “…with little or no questions about the origin of items, why they were selling rather than returning, or if a receipt was available.”
According to the charging document, retailers “expressed concern about the volume of brand new in-the-box items being sold online by a number of pawnshops along the Wasatch Front.” Several items were documented for sale with the retailer’s ‘spider wire’ anti-theft device still on the package. The affected retail and outlet stores included Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Shopko, Kroger Foods, Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS Pharmacy and others.
In the charging document, a witness said John ‘Johnny’ Jones admitted that “probably 80% of everything they buy is stolen.” One of the shoplifters said Extreme Pawn would “never ask questions and would buy anything.” Another witness said that “…everything she pawned was stolen the same day and immediately pawned. She further stated that all the money she received from the pawn shops was used to buy drugs.”
Jones was charged with: Pattern of Unlawful Activity (1st degree felony); Theft of Lost, mislaid or mistakenly delivered property, (Second Degree Felony); Receiving Stolen Property, (Second Degree Felony); 4 counts: Receiving Stolen Property (1 First Degree/3 Third Degree Felony); Communications Fraud (First Degree Felony).
The suspect John Jones has been ordered to self-surrender to Salt Lake County Jail prior to his next court date on September 6th, 2019. Xtreme Pawn in West Jordan remains open for business. This investigation is ongoing.