What Do Burglars Do with Stolen Items?

Knowing which items are high priority for burglars.


September 24, 2020

3 113 What-Do-Burglars-Do-With-Stolen-Items-Home-Security Desktop

2020 Update

While over a year old, all of the information in this article is still relevant. It can be important to know what burglars do with stolen items; scroll down to find out how. 

If you’ve been the victim of a burglary, you know that once your emotions run their course, you have some questions. For example, who exactly was this burglar? Why did they pick my home? What did they do with my items? Did they sell them? Are my items that valuable?

Many burglars are savvy enough not to take items they cannot immediately resell. They have some sort of motive — usually financial profit — so they have those aims in mind when they choose their items.

Once a burglar makes away with stolen property, there are several options of where to cash out on these newly gathered goods. Unfortunately for homeowners, some of the options make it extremely difficult to obtain items once they’ve been stolen—or to even charge a suspect.

Pawn shops

Pawn shops are one of the first locations a burglar will target. Police in many areas attempt to develop relationships with the owners of local pawn shops, this way the owner will immediately alert authorities if criminals are attempting to sell items that were previously stolen. In some cities, pawn shops are even required to report what they have acquired and who they gained it from.

Pawn shops are also common locations for property owners to look for their items. If they find their serial numbers are listed on items, they can regain their property. For this reason, pawn shop owners may be reluctant to purchase property.

But criminals aren’t so naive. Many will sell their stolen items to a middleman — who may or may not be complicit in the crimes — then this middleman resells the goods to a pawn shop.

However, there are pawn shop owners that do not abide by the law. These owners have a relationship with burglars and know the items being brought in are stolen. Since most modern-day pawn shops require IDs, these burglars are likely using fake IDs to get away with their actions.

Fencing operations

The concept of a fencing operation is older, and they are not as common as they once were. In a fencing operation, a criminal purposefully steals property so that it can be resold later. Popular locations where fencing operations take place are pawn shops, mom-and-pop stores, and organized crime groups.

These operations work by giving a burglar a list of wanted items, then burglars set out to get every item on the list. Once the burglar attains these items, they report back to the fencing post to receive payment. Through this procedure, many people unknowingly buy stolen goods.

Alternative selling options 

There are also burglars who steal out of desperation, and they are less likely to go through fencing operations or other high-level ways of selling their items.

Other common methods include:

  • Selling items on the street or black market

  • Some criminals take their items to sell in other states or countries

  • Social media sites like Facebook, or other classifieds like Craigslist, unfortunately make recovering property that has been stolen, rather difficult.

The highest likelihood of regaining property comes if you know the serial numbers of your property and contact law enforcement right when theft occurs. We encourage preventing theft before it can occur using home security equipment.

Homes with a security system are 33% less likely to be broken into. 

Keeping your home secure with a security system gives you 24/7 monitoring for around-the-clock protection. With Brinks Home Security™, you can customize your security package with only the products you want for your home. Contact us today for a  free quote.

Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection.

Share via:

We are not able to service your area yet.

Thank you...

Your request has been submitted.

One of our expert security consultants will be in touch. Together, we'll design a smart home security system to fit your lifestyle.


Interested in a Home Security System?

Complete this form and a Brinks Home™ Security Consultant will reach out regarding building your security system.

By clicking the ‘Submit’ above below, I agree that a Brinks Home specialist may contact me via text messages or phone calls to the phone number provided by me using automated technology about Brinks Home offers. This consent is not required to make a purchase. Your information is collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy. Clicking the button below constitutes your electronic signature.