Florida courts have ruled that law enforcement may no longer recover stolen property from pawnshops and return it to a victim of a crime without providing the broker an opportunity of a hearing.
If your stolen property is found in a pawnshop you may decide to purchase it back or obtain a court order to recover the property. In order to obtain a court order to recover your property, you will need to file a petition for return of the property with the Clerk of the County Court. It is recommended that you seek legal assistance to file the petition.
The Florida Pawnbroking Act states:
If you reported a crime to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, you may obtain a copy of the report from our Records Division:
Lee Count Sheriff’s Office
14750 Six Mile Cypress Parkway
Fort Myers, FL 33912
The Florida Pawnbroking Act further states:
If the victim and the pawnbroker do not resolve the matter within ten (10) days after the pawnbroker’s receipt of the notice, the victim may petition the court to order the return of the property, naming the pawnbroker as a defendant.
The pawnbroker is required to hold the property, until the right to possession is resolved by the parties or by the court.
Clerk of Court
Lee County Justice Center
1700 Monroe Street 2nd Floor
Fort Myers, FL 33901
If, after a hearing, the court orders the return of the property to the claimant:
If the court finds that the claimant failed to comply with the requirements of the statute, or otherwise finds against the claimant, the claimant is liable for the defendant’s costs, including attorney’s fees.