Local woman forced to buy back jewelry, forcing changes in state law

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NAPLES, Fla.- A woman who found her stolen items at a pawn shop and was forced to buy them back is pushing for changes to state law.

This week, Naples homeowner Jane Moershel got the email she’s been waiting almost a year for.

Moershel has been fighting to get Florida law changed to protect victims of theft after becoming a victim herself.

WINK News first introduced you to Moershel last April when her homeowners association hired a company to clean out their condo’s dryer vents. That company was so busy, it contracted workers off Craigslist who stole almost $40,000 worth of Moershel’s jewelry.

“It was pretty stressful for a while,” said Moershel.

When Moershel tried to get her jewelry back from pawn shops in Fort Myers and in Clearwater, they told her she’d have to buy it back.

“It is insane,” said Moershel. “Florida is one of the only states where you have to buy your own jewelry back.”

Every penny the pawn shop paid to the thief, Moershel had to pay them. In all, she spent $2,600 buying back her own belongings.

“A lot of people can’t afford to go buy their jewelry back,” said Moershel.

Moershel made it her life’s mission to get lawmakers involved. This week, State Senator Garrett Richter and State Representative Kathleen Possidomo’s offices told her they’re filing bills to protect victims. That makes Moershel’s fight one step closer to victory.

“It’s just wonderful news,” said Moershel.

Naples Police arrested the man they say stole from Moershel and her neighbors. He is currently in jail in Collier County.

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