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LeadsOnline helps officers, victims recover stolen items

Published: April 23, 2014, 8:57 pm, by Lisa Walton

Since March, at least 15 people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in two separate burglary rings in Colorado Springs and El Paso County. 

Authorities say they have cleared more than 130 burglary cases.  As a result of the arrests, thousands of dollars worth of stolen items have been recovered by the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

More than  $100,000 in stolen property, including guns, cars, jewelry, money and appliances was recovered. So much  stolen property were recovered  from one property that it had to be hauled away in a U-Haul truck, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Northside Mafia gang members  are suspects in the second ring, Colorado Springs police report. On Oct. 29, the suspects allegedly broke into a house and loaded up a stolen car with $3,000 worth of property. 

Recovered items often go unclaimed if authorities cannot  affirmatively identify the owner of the property, though. For missing clothes and jewelry, they need pictures, or  receipts. For missing electronics, computers, and TVs, they need serial numbers. 

Information about the percentage of items that go unclaimed was not immediately available, but according to the CSPD website, unclaimed property that has no value or is contraband is destroyed. Property with value, however, is donated, used in the department, or sold at public auction. (You can view or bid online for auction items from local agencies  here.)

Keeping an inventory of your valuables is the best way to ensure you get back what was taken from you, police say. In light of both the burglaries and the past two summer’s devastating disasters, keeping track of your valuables is also a smart move, police say.

Colorado Springs encourage the use of a program called reportit.leadsonline.com, a free online program that allows the option of securely storing serial numbers and pictures.

It’s the public side of the LeadsOnline law enforcement tool, which CSPD began using in January. Police submit information about items that have be reported stolen into the database.  Pawn shops are also required to submit every item they buy or sell to the online system too. If a stolen item comes through the system by way of a pawn shop, or another law enforcement agency, the police department that submitted the stolen item information is automatically notified. 

“We’ve had hits on stolen property as far as Florida,” said police spokeswomen Lt. Catherine Buckley. She said the police department has recovered 10 guns in January and February using the system.