NAPLES, Fla.- Leading the crusade to change a state law; a woman says she had to pay to get her stolen jewelry back. WINK News found out, there’s no law against it.
Jane Moerschel is happy to have most of her stolen jewelry back. The beautiful pieces, worth around $40,000, were given to her by her late husband during their years of marriage.
“I thought I was safe here,” said Moerschel.
In March, Moerschel’s homeowners association hired a company to clean out their dryer vents. Moerschel says the company was so busy, it contracted workers off Craigslist. She says that’s who stole from her and her two other neighbors.
“I started looking around and I noticed all my jewelry was gone,” said Moerschel.
The Naples Police Department started investigating and found most of her jewelry for sale in a pawn shop in Clearwater. But, the relief of finding it was short-lived for Moerschel, when she heard what she had to do next.
“I have to buy my own jewelry back,” said Moerschel.
Every penny the pawn shop paid to the thief, Moerschel had to pay them. So, she spent another $2,600 just getting back the items that rightfully belonged to her in the first place.
“I was a victim and then I’m a victim again,” said Moerschel.
In Florida, pawnshop employees can be arrested for knowingly buying stolen property. But, it’s not illegal for them to charge victims for their items. Moerschel says this creates a dangerous loophole that perpetuates crime.
“It’s an encouragement to the thief because he knows the pawn shops will pay him
for what he brings in because they’re not out anything,” said Moerschel.
Now, Moerschel is fighting back, writing letters to state lawmakers. She hopes they’ll change the law so no one else gets victimized, twice.
“I’ll fight the rest of my life to get it changed,” said Moerschel.
Moerschel says her neighbors had to buy back their items too. Naples police say they’re close to applying for warrants in the crime to make an arrest.