Region 8 News Investigates: Twice a victim - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Region 8 News Investigates: Twice a victim

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -

Have you ever been robbed? Chances are the answer is yes. You know the feeling that goes along with the answer. You just want to get back what was taken. In most cases, law enforcement can help. But even with new laws and technology in place for reporting and recording stolen property, the victim pays not once but twice.

Jewelry, like your grandmother's wedding ring or your father's watch, has immeasurable sentimental value.

"She was a dancer. She liked to pull pranks," said Carla Wilson. Wilson shares fond memories of her late mother. "She loved to laugh. She was a wonderful Mom."

Carla was just 20 years old when cancer claimed her mother's life.

"My Mom's been away longer than I had her and so that makes those little pieces of memory that much more important," said Carla.

Those pieces are rings, necklaces and jewelry. They are items on this police report after Carla's home, which used to be her mother's home, was robbed last year.

"The first day the sheriff's deputy and I went to the pawn shops," said Carla. "We located some stuff."

But this working, single mother of 4 encountered yet another hurdle almost as hurtful as the initial crime.

"Then I'm told, you've got to go and buy it back. That makes the victim, a victim twice," said Carla.

"She can get her stuff back, if she pays their price," said Greene County Sheriff David Carter.

Sheriff Carter is referring to the numerous pawn shops where the jewelry turned up.

In 2013, Rep. Homer Lenderman sponsored a bill that would become law requiring pawn shops to upload data about purchases and sales to a centralized online database.

"We put everything we do on Leads Online which goes all across the country," said Linda Wells, owner of Country Antiques and Pawn Shop. "If something comes up stolen, then it will show."

Wells was not one of the pawnbrokers who handled Wilson's stolen jewelry. But, after 30 years in the pawnbroker business, she knew it well.

"Most generally, they have to buy it back," said Wells.

And she says stolen pieces rarely turn up here.

"The customers that come into my business are good, honest, hard-working people," said Wells. "I have not had that problem in a very, very long time."

But that doesn't change what happens when someone like Carla is faced with seeing a stolen ring in a pawnbroker's showcase.

"I bought it on the spot because I thought if I took my eyes off of it, I would never see it again." said Carla.

But, not able to afford some pieces, they are lost forever.

"If I were to buy a car off of Craig's List and I get pulled over by policemen and they say this is a stolen car and they impound it," said Carla. "I'm out of money and I'm out of a car."

"Someone's going to have to pay for it in the end...whether it be them or the bad guy," said Sheriff Carter.

No pawn shop offered to give Carla her property back and wait for restitution in the case.

Two of four suspects were arrested and aside from the one ring Carla bought back, she has little to pass on of her mother.

"It's hard," said Carla, holding back tears. "Once I'm gone to pass those memories down to your

Two of four suspects were arrested and aside from the one ring Carla bought back, she has little to pass on of her mother.

"It's hard," said Carla, holding back tears. "Once I'm gone to pass those memories down to your kids unless they have an item that represents that memory."

Items that mean everything to the victim and nothing to the thief.

For tips on how to protect your stuff from thieves, click here.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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