Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Burglary & Pawn Detectives work diligently to recover items for victims of theft. Are you prepared to help detectives if you become the victim of theft?

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office sponsors RAPID, Regional Automated Property Information Database, an electronic database of pawn purchases for all law enforcement agencies in Pinellas County. According to Florida Statute, when pawn shops or second-hand dealers buy an item, they must get information about the seller such as contact information and fingerprints. This information is entered into RAPID, and the item is held per Florida Statute. 


One way to help safeguard your property is to take photos of your valuables including serial numbers or identifiable markings. You can store this information personally, or you can store the information in the HomeWatch system. By creating a private user account in HomeWatch, the information you enter will only be accessible to you and anyone you authorize as a viewer – such as law enforcement. To learn more about how you can register your personal property with HomeWatch, visit the website HERE.

Wherever you decide to save information about your valuables, make sure photos are up-to-date and easily accessible in the event you need to provide them to law enforcement to assist in recovering your belongings. Taking this precaution will give Burglary & Pawn Detectives the best possible chance of recovering your items.


How to Recover Stolen Property from a Pawn Shop FSS 359 or Second Hand Dealer FSS 538

Victims of theft who have identified stolen property at a pawn shop or second hand dealer have the following options regarding the return of the property after initiating a police report and the appropriate law enforcement agency places a Pawn "Hold" on that property (90 day expiration): 

  • Purchase the property back for the amount the shop paid the seller (or)
  • Complete a Statement of Claim in Replevin with the Pinellas County Clerk of Court


How to initiate the civil process in Pinellas County - follow the guidelines found in FSS 539.001.15 / FSS 538.08

1) Notify the pawn broker or second hand dealer of your claim to the property via certified mail, return receipt requested or in person with signed receipt. Include a legible copy of the applicable police report. 

2) If no resolution is made within ten (10) days after receipt of notice, you may petition the court for the return of the property. 

a) A Statement of Claim in Replevin form is available online at:

i. List the pawnbroker as the defendant.

b) Submit form to Pinellas County Clerk.

i. Additional forms may be required by Clerk. 

c) Serve the pawnbroker or second hand dealer a copy of the petition. 

3) The court will then schedule a court date in the Pinellas County Small Claims Division.

a) Fees may apply, but the court may waive those fees depending on the final judgment. 

4) The property is maintained by the pawnbroker or second hand dealer during this process. 

5) Note that time is of the essence as the hold form is only binding for 90 days and only a judge can order an extension. 


What can happen at the hearing? 

1) The Court orders the property returned to the claimant

a) May also recover cost of action / attorney fees.

b) The arrested subject may be ordered to reimburse the pawnbroker or second hand dealer for all costs.

2) Court finds for the pawnbroker or second hand dealer.

a) Claimant may be liable for pawnbroker's cost / attorney fees. 


How to be fully informed

1) Refer to FSS 538 Second Hand Dealers / FSS 539 Pawnbroking for specifics and Pinellas Clerks office for additional forms / filing requirements. 

2) Consult an attorney as neither PCSO nor Pinellas County Clerk's office can give any legal advice. 


Please contact your case agent for any additional questions: 727-582-6200

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