• La Familia Pawn Shop refuses to return church's stolen items

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County church that had thousands of dollars of equipment stolen in March said they feel like a victim all over again after their property showed up a local pawn shop.

    Church officials told Eyewitness News La Familia Pawn won't give the items back unless they go to court.

    Thieves stole more than $4,500 worth equipment from the New Beginnings Church on Semoran Road before pawning them for cash at the East Colonial Drive pawn shop.

    "Who would think somebody would actually rob a church but it happens," said the Rev. Howard Harrison.


    Poll: Should pawn shops be required to return stolen goods to owners at no charge?


    Orlando police along with Harrison presented receipts showing the serial number, proving the equipment was theirs, but the pawn shop isn't giving the items back so easily.

    "They want us to go through the process of the courts, and it doesn't make sense to me when the officer has showed them receipts and all that good stuff," said Harrison.

    So the church is taking the pawn shop to court, petitioning to have the items returned.

    WFTV chief legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said legally, pawn shops do not have to give the items back, leaving victims only one option if they can't resolve it with the brokers.  

    "You can file an action for replevin in circuit court and if the court finds that you are entitled to the property you get the property back plus attorney's fees and costs," Sheaffer said.

    The church is still in the process of moving to their new location on Curry Ford Road. They may decide to ultimately buy their own items back from the pawn broker to get ready for service.

    Howard said he feels like the law needs to be changed to protect people who have their possessions stolen. 

    The pawn shop has not returned Channel 9's calls for comment.

    Next Up: