EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSPAWN SHOP PROBLEMS
from Eyewitness News Online
Police: Thousands In Stolen Goods Seized From Pawn Shop; Investigation Continues
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Sep. 19, 2012 6:48 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 19, 2012 7:03 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Eyewitness News is digging deeper into a shoplifting scheme that landed one man in jail. The owner of a pawn shop could be in trouble as well.
Keller's Pawn Shop in North Charleston is now under investigation after police say they have recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise from the shop.
Owner, Bob Keller, says he did nothing wrong and was duped by a "career criminal."
"I guess I made some maybe questionable decisions, dumb decisions but I'm just an honest guy trying to make a living," Keller says.
The investigation all started with a tip that lead South Charleston Police to stores in Corridor G. That's where they say they witnessed Sam Ranson -- who happened to be a witness in the sniper case -- go into Walmart, Dick's and Cabela's and come out with more than a thousand dollars worth of stolen merchandise.
"He could walk into one of these stores and come out with hundreds of dollars in merchandise in a matter of minutes and they would just move from one parking lot to another," Detective C.A. Cook with South Charleston police says.
Police say Ranson was driven by Sandra Shaffer, a woman also at the center of the sniper case. Detectives say they followed the two to Keller's Pawn Shop where Ranson cashed in the stolen items. They pulled Ranson over and say they found another ticket from a pawn Ranson had made at Keller's on Friday. Police say Ranson told them that Keller knew the items were hot and requested specific things.
The items were never entered into a database called "leadsonline" a requirement for pawn shops. Police say the stolen items were also already out on the floor with new price tags on them by the time they went in to check them out. Under Charleston law, a pawn shop must wait 10 days to sell any items they buy.
Keller says he just expanded his business in April to include the pawn shop and wasn't aware of the rules. He also says he had no idea the items were stolen.
"How can you determine the source of goods?" Keller asks.
Keller says as a result, he's getting out of the pawn business, but he may not be getting out of trouble. Charleston Police are now investigating his shop. Wednesday evening, Charleston and South Charleston Police say they seized thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods from the pawn shop. Det. Cook says all of the items, including drills, GPS systems and other electronics, were all pawned by one woman over the course of three weeks. Police say they have confirmed that the items were stolen from various retailers in the Kanawha Valley. Police are still searching for the woman who pawned the items and are continuing to investigate the shop. So far, no charges have been filed against Keller.
Ranson has been charged with fraudulent schemes. He was also supposed to be meeting with his parole officer while he was allegedly shop lifting the items, so he's in trouble for that too.
Police plan to meet with prosecutors to determine what Shaffer should be charged with, if anything.
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