Boston Pawn Shop Stops the Potential Sale of a Stolen Nikon D3100

Note to any camera thief who attempts to get rid of the camera at a pawn shop: it might be beneficial to at least know how to turn the thing on. Not only that, but when questioned about where you “found” the camera and when asked to file a missing item report, don’t run off — I’ve heard it doesn’t help with the whole suspicion factor.

As reported by WCVB, last weekend, an individual walked into Empire Loan hoping to pawn off a Nikon D3100. Employee of the Boston-based pawn shop Michael Goldstein went about standard procedure, asking about various information pertaining to the camera. The individual trying to pawn it off not only didn’t know the model of camera he was working with, but according to Goldstein, he didn’t even know how to turn it on.


“We told him, ‘We don’t think this belongs to you,'” Goldstein tells WCVB. That’s when the individual said that he had indeed “found” the camera on the Boston subway system. Upon telling the man that he should file a missing item report, he took off.

From there, Goldstein and Empire Loans took it upon themselves to seek out the owner of the camera in hopes of returning, not only their piece of gear, but the memories that were still on the memory card inside.


Thanks to some photos still on the camera, in combination with a search through Craigslist, Empire Loans found the owners of the camera and reached out to them to confirm it was indeed theirs. Everything matched up and the owners of the camera, who are from Madrid, will have the camera shipped back to them.

With the exception of the man who tried to pawn this camera off as his own not getting caught, it’s happy news all around, with no damage done and memories still intact. If only all instances of camera theft went down as smoothly as this one and the Lenstag case from last month.

(via WCVB)

  • Nate Parker

    I used to go by the Empire Pawn shop a bunch when I was a student musician living in Beantown- best pawn shop in Boston! Good work guys!

  • Nate Parker

    Actually in hindsight it was Suffolk Jewelers that I used to peruse for used guitars, still, good work Empire!

  • MickO

    They are the real pawn stars! :-)

  • Matt


  • krugorg

    Nice work Michael!

  • OtterMatt

    Hooray! The system (sometimes) works!

  • anim8tr

    It’s not unusual to have stolen camera equipment show up at a pawn shop. Fortunately most pawn shops double-check this. I had two stolen lens returned to me after a thief grabbed them and tried to get cash from a pawn shop for them. The thief was identified on camera and located, I got my equipment back shortly thereafter. Just be sure to jot down your serial numbers, hang on to those receipts and file a stolen property report where the theft occured. I had my equipment back in about three weeks.

  • Grant King

    I have worked in the 2nd hand goods trade for about 14 years & this happened to me with a D2x & lenses about 6 years back, the kid who brought it in didn’t know how to use & only wanted £50 (Approx. $75) we stalled for the police to arrive but in the end we just snatched it from his grasp as he fled the shop & happily reunited it with its owner & the perpetrator was arrested running up the road & was charged & prosecuted.