Pawn shop wants Lake County woman to buy back stolen heirloom necklace

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Lake County woman's family heirloom necklace was stolen and hocked at a pawn shop.

Now, she says, the pawn shop wants her to buy it back.

Elana Finn said she was horrified when she couldn't find the necklace that had been passed down to her. The biggest shock came when she found out her house guest, Black Johnson, had been arrested and charged with breaking in and stealing her neighbor's belongings.

Detectives said Johnson brought the necklace to a Polk County pawn shop.

"He wanted that necklace for gold, so it could be melted down and never recognized again," Finn said.

Finn said she doesn't think she should have to buy it back.

"I have to go back and buy it, and I don't think that's right."

Lake County Sheriff's officials say they see similar situations happen all the time. Back in the day, they said they could just flash their badge and take the stolen item back to its rightful owner.

State laws now require the pawn shop and the victim to try to work something out.

Officials said once an owner of a stolen item provides sufficient notice to the pawn broker, the two parties have 10 days to reach a settlement for themselves, or the victim can take the case to court.

The owner of Four Corners pawn said it is an unfortunate situation and that he is a victim, too.

"I've had some items stolen from me before so I know how this feels. We sympathize with the victims of this case and try to work with them on this and it's just bad," said owner Shawn Akimoe.