Too good to be true?

I have a pawn shop a few miles from my home. It is just a dingy old place. They have recently aquired some REALLY high end audio equipment, $6-7000 worth of speakers and amps. This guy doesn't know a woofer from his elbow. Is there a place I can go and run the serial #'s somewhere and find out if this stuff has been stolen from someone? For that matter, buying on a site like e-bay? How do you know what your getting isn't someone elses loss?
You could call the police and let them investigate. ;)
>>$6-7000 worth of speakers and amps.
You call THAT High End??
You have been watching too many crime shows on TV - why assume the worse?

This is the era of people not being able to survive past their next paycheck. Job loss is a more likely scenario for the origin for these goods.

Also, break & enter thieves are unlikely to spend their time and energy carting away speakers when they can just move on to the next house.
I wonder how the assumption of subwoofer and elbow came about? I'll bet he greases his elbows in the business that he's in! Stolen merchandise can show up anywhere for sale. I would venture to say he still made a profit after pulling the wool over your eyes!
Here is something to think about...Theft, and the fencing and sale of stolen goods is actually good for the economy.

A brand new $400 TV is stolen from you. It is fenced for $100, and resold for $150. The person who buys it could not afford to buy it at $400. The stolen goods price structure constitutes a deep, deep, discount, which broadens the market for the product. The manufacturer builds another TV set for you, which is paid for by your insurance company. Since the manufacturer is now building more TV sets, because some have been sold at the deep discount price, his costs per set goes down, and he can lower the price to $350. This sells more sets to honest people.

The above is not just a made up story, but is something I learned by reading a doctoral thesis regarding the role of the fence in society.
Calling the manufacturer and the local PD to check on the s/ns is the best you can do.
Eldartford, did this thesis factor in the increased insurance premiums, the cost of police investigating the crime, the cost of the homeowner repairing damage to a residence, the time value of finding a replacement TV, the cost of maintaining security systems, etc? I also have a hard time believing that the marginal cost for a particular TV would be reduced by a significant amount due to the increased number of theft replacements.
Eldartford: "You're a monster Zorg!"
Maineiac...Yes, this fascinating doctoral thesis by an economics student considered everything. It was published in two volumes, one with the discussion, analysis and conclusions, suitable for layman readership, and a second volume with all the data and calculations. I will check out the library where I read this book some time ago, and try to post the title.

Another interesting fact is the very cozy relationship that usually exists between the police and the fence. The fence has one foot in the legal business world and the other in crime. He serves as a valuable bridge for the police. An example given is what happens if a thief makes the mistake of stealing the Mayor's wife's diamond ring. This particular ring WILL be recovered, although the crime may remain unsolved.
At least in Pittsburgh, there is a Pawn Shop division for the police and they specialize in this stuff.
So Eldartford, If you send me your address, and a time frame to load up all your stuff, and i come and steal all your stuff, you will, of course, be happy?
Darn Elizabeth,
You beat me to that remark! Hey, if we STEAL (and then fence) a really big TRUCK, we could do the whole FAMILY!
To heck with free-market capitalism. I like THIS approach to stimulating the economy MUCH better!
Now if we could just get EVERYONE doing it, think of all the positive benefits!
Hmmmm.....could this lend itself to NetWork Marketing?
Elizabeth...I will be sad for a few hours. Then I will cheerfully upgrade everything under my insurance policy, just as I did with TV sets, VCRs, Microwaves, etc. when my house suffered a lighting strike. In that instance the audio equipment was (who knows why) not damaged. Shucks!
who cares where it came from,if its a good deal then go for it,if you bought the gear legaly then you have nothing to loose except a good deal by wasting time worring instead of buying.
If im not mistaken,,a pawn shop has to sumit regular list of everything they buy,,,to the police,,
Just curious what brands are we talking about? You might want to do as suggested, check with the manufacturer if possible, or even post a notice here and at AA giving details just in case anyone has been ripped off. Or you could just buy the gear if the deal is good, take it home, and live happily ever after. But given the fact that you've bothered to post this leads me to beleive that you'll endeavour to get to the bottom of it if possible. Good luck!
Elizabeth and other skeptics...I can understand your doubts. The overall positive effect of the fence on the economy (and social fabric)is entirely unexpected, and only becomes evident through objective in depth research and analysis. As I said I will try to post the name of the book. Although it was a scholarly thesis, volume 1 rose quite high in nonfiction book sales. Read it before you discount the conclusions.
Wrong, Bigjoe! If you unknowingly purchase stolen merchandise, and it is somehow later discovered to be stolen, it is returned to the owner, and now YOU must try to get reimbursed from the seller! Good luck, if he was the lowlife who stole it or fenced it. And unfortunately, most thefts are committed to support a drug habit.

Eldartford, a stolen $400- TV will probably bring the thief $50- from a fence, who will then sell it for $100-. These items are kept in "inventory" for as short a time as possible...for obvious reasons!
I would be only too happy to check the serial numbers for you. Please contact me off board with the phone number of the pawn shop, the name of the dopey old guy that runs it and the address. You will sleep much better at night.
Fatparrot...Perhaps the prices I quoted were a bit off, but the general idea should be clear. The professional fence has accounting techniques to keep his "inventory" looking clean. Incidentally, the fence's and thief's universally agreed reference standard for pricing items at the time the research was done was the Sears catalog, and the fence's payment was a standard percentage of the retail price of the comparable item in the catalog. Of course there is no Sears catalog anymore, so they must have come up with another method.
Okay, so because somebody- or a large group of "somebodys"-benefits under the stolen goods/ fence scenario, it's okay?

A few names for you to ponder: Enron. Global Crossing. MCI.

I'm a blatant, unrepentant capitalistic free market nutcase. The fence, however, is engaging in CRIME.
some of you guys have watched way too many episodes of csi on tv,pawn shops are a legit business & come across high end gear constantly,ebay is full of pawn shop high $$$ gear.

killer deals never wait on super sleuths.
I agree with Maineiac and Elizabeth. Eldartford's proposition is an example of the "Broken window theory" in economics. Sometime around 1800, early in the development of economic theory, someone proposed that a broken window was not economically harmful because someone would be hired to fix the window. The common sense rebutal was that, if a broken window was economically beneficial, society would be better if if all windows were broken, which intuitively seems wrong. The sophisicated rebuttal was that the economic activity of fixing the broken window diverts resources that could have been used for some other productive purpose, leaving society less well off than if the window had not been broken in the first place.

The criminal redistribution of wealth also overlooks the economic cost of living in a lawless society, which discourages wealth generating activity and keeps total societal wealth from increasing, if not actually causing it to decrease. And that's only the economic cost. There's a significant social cost as well. In Eldartford's example, the only persons who are better off are the thief and the person who persuaded someone to pay for a 2 volume thesis on how the rest of society is benefitted.
Dougmc...It's not "Eldartford's proposition" but rather an interesting idea that I submit for consideration. It is interesting precisely because it is so counterintuitive. The whole business of the fence goes far beyond his economic role...the Mayor's wife's ring example just scratches the surface.

To get an accurate assessment of the economic impact very precise metrics are essential, such as those on which the thesis was based. The guy who did this study was taken into confidence by a long established fence near Boston (and it was no little pawn shop) who set forth the complete business plan for the profession in a way that would make Harvard Business School proud. (For people who live in the Boston area, it's easy to speculate as to who the fence might be, but nothing has been proven. Or even charged, which, in itself is interesting).

The "broken window" analogy is not relevant. The window is broken, not stolen and put to use by someone who otherwise could not have a window.

I searched the library but could not find the book. Not yet anyway.
most jurisdiction require the pawn shops to submit serial numbers to the police department. this should provide you with some protection. this however assumes that the victim submitted the serial number to the police at the time of theft. By the way when my house was burgalrized they ignored the highend equipment. Appearently they did not know what it was.
OK I found the book.

The Professional Fence
by Carl B Klockars
Published by New York Free Press (1974)
Originally presented as the author's thesis, University of Pennsylvania.

A very interesting read, even if you can't stomach the conclusions.
I thought the broken windows theory was based on the benefits of repairing and keeping up neighborhoods as a crime deterrent. Oh yeah, that would be bad for the economy.
El. I stand corrected. You did not propose the theory, you merely described it. I'll respond further off thread, because I don't want to digress any further into a non-audio topic.