PONTOTOC, Miss. (WTVA) — One local county has discovered a new method to help address the problem of stolen goods being sold at pawn shops.
A program called LeadsOnline is helping law enforcement in Pontotoc County be better equipped to recover those items.
"We've seen less merchandise coming in," said Pontotoc County Sheriff Leo Mask. "It helped us on a couple of occasions where we've had metal stolen and scrap metal and things like that."
The Pontotoc Board of Aldermen and the Pontotoc County Board of Supervisors recently agreed to extend the LeadsOnline program.
"We won't have to go around to each pawn shop and check for stolen goods," added Pontotoc Police Chief Larry Poole. "We'll just get online and not to have to go to other towns and waste a lot of trouble and time of hunting this stuff down."
"The main thing it does it cuts down on the man hours and manpower," added Mask. "You can go online and look and see what you have missing."
People who frequent pawn shops have advice on how to best avoid purchasing something stolen.
"First, I do the serial number and let them look it up," said Angel Hicks of Pontotoc. "I ask a lot of questions like, you know, if anybody has reported anything like it stolen."
The LeadsOnline program is also designed to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes in an efficient matter.
"It's going to be a win-win situation for all of us," added Mask. "We don't have the manpower; this helps with the manpower."
Law enforcement said the more questions you ask, the less likely you are to buy something stolen.
The program is described as the nation's largest online investigation system.
It's not free for law enforcement to use.
The cost is shared among agencies.