Search For Stolen Property

Having your property stolen can make you feel angry and frustrated.

Having your personal property stolen can be an emotionally devastating experience. Not only do you feel violated, but you are frustrated about thieves taking things that cost you money or meant something special. Your goal is to try to recover these items before they can be sold, knowingly or unknowingly, to other parties. While it isn’t always easy to get your belongings back, you still have a chance for success if you use certain methods.


1. File an official police report to help recover your property. You will need to have a full list of stolen items with their descriptions, serial numbers (if applicable), photos, the date you noticed them missing and any ideas you have of who may have taken them. The more information you provide, the better chance of your property being identified if police find it. Be aware that it could take time for them to locate your property, because a huge number of similar cases are open, but you should call the police regularly to find out if any progress has been made in finding your items.

2. Check pawn shops in your local area to locate your property. Sometimes thieves take stolen valuables there to quickly get rid of them and sell them. Take a copy of your police report and a list of your stolen items and their serial numbers to prove that the items belong to you. The downside is that it can be time-consuming going to all the pawn shops in your area. Additionally, your items may have already been sold or the proprietor may not always be cooperative and require you to buy the items back. If you find property at a pawn shop that shows serial numbers that prove they are your stolen items, inform the police right away.

3. Utilize the Trace or the Just Stolen websites to aid you in finding your property (see References). These are online databases where you can register and list your stolen property. Since there is a section where people can also check to see if used items they have purchased or are thinking of purchasing are stolen, you can do a search to see if any of your items are listed.

4. List and a search for your property at the National Police Services online website (see References). It has a section dedicated to helping you locate stolen property. Links to various state registries where you can list or search for your stolen items are available.

5. Ask around your neighborhood. It is possible that someone may have seen someone break into your residence or that they may have heard about who might have taken your property. While not all people want to get personally involved due to fear for their own safety, you may have individuals who sympathize with you and are willing to help.