Clayton police use online software to find stolen goods

ajames@newsobserver.comOctober 14, 2013 

— The police department here is using online software that, in one month, has led to the recovery of thousands of dollars in stolen goods.

The software, dubbed LeadsOnline.com, allows police to coordinate with pawn shops across the county. Shop owners enter the serial numbers and sometimes photos of items they take in, creating a database police can search. The program is free for pawn shops.

“It cuts down on time,” said Clayton police Capt. John Coley. Before, police searching for stolen items had to physically visit pawn shops.

“With LeadsOnline, you can sit in your office and type in the serial number, and if the property is pawned anywhere in the U.S., you can find it,” Coley said.

In Clayton, the online database recently helped police recover $8,000 worth of stolen items and led to the arrest of a suspect in three burglaries.

Police were investigating a series of break-ins on Holding Street. Two occurred on Aug. 25 and a third on Sept. 3. The thief or thieves took televisions, jewelry, desktop and laptop computers, cameras, video game systems and all sorts of electronics.

In their search for the goods, detectives decided to try LeadsOnline.com.

At a pawn shop in Raleigh, the database showed a game system taken from one of the homes on Holding Street. Clayton detectives visited the pawn shop in hopes of tracking down the person who pawned the game system.

Since state law requires anyone who pawns items to show ID, the pawn shop shared the identity of the person with police, who were then able to a locate the suspect, execute a search warrant, make an arrest and recover $8,000 in stolen property.

Dwayne Johnson, 25, of 505 Holding St. was jailed under a $150,000 bond. A search of his home found several items from the Holding Street break-ins.

“This is the result of many hours of work by our detectives,” said Police Chief R.W. Bridges. “We located stolen property in Raleigh and worked backward until the case was solved.”

Johnson faces two counts of felonious breaking and entering, two counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering, one count of obtaining property by false pretense, one count of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and felonious possession of stolen goods. Additional charges are possible.

LeadsOnline is now something the Clayton Police Department uses on a daily basis.

The service isn’t free, but the fact that police were able to solve four burglaries in the first month of a free trial proved the tool’s worth, Coley said.

The Raleigh Police Department also uses LeadsOnline.

Useful for citizens

“It not only helps us but the citizens too,” Coley said. “It’s free to citizens.”

Citizens can log onto reportit.leadsonline.com to put in serial numbers, receipts or photos of valuables they fear might be stolen.

Nationwide, more than 2,700 agencies are using LeadsOnline. In North Carolina, 129 agencies are doing so.

James: 919-553-7234

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