Detectives raid large pawn shop in Hickory Hill - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Detectives raid large pawn shop in Hickory Hill

Shelby County Sheriff's Department detectives raided a large pawn shop Friday they claim was selling stolen goods.

Department spokesperson Steve Shular said deputies filled nearly two tractor-trailers full of stolen goods that were removed from "Big Daddy's Pawn Shop," located in the 3700 block of Hickory Hill in Memphis.

Shular said deputies in the department's ALERT (Area Law Enforcement Retailers Team) squad received a tip that said employees at the pawn shop would buy stolen property.

Undercover deputies, posing as thieves, went into the shop attempting to sell a plasma TV, iPods, and other electronic items donated to the sting by a local Target store. The officers were offered $970 for the items.

Shular said it took three days to inventory more than 6,000 items recovered at the shop, including computer equipment, power tools, and lawn mowers. Almost 3,000 items were not documented, while hundreds of others were missing serial numbers or were altered.

$71,000 worth of DVDs were also discovered. The DVDs, which were defective, had been ordered destroyed by their manufacturer. Instead, they were sold to the pawn shop.

Two arrests were made during the raid. Store owner Kristi Vice, 39, and assistant manager Trae Benton, 33, were the employees who offered to purchase items from undercover deputies. Sheriff's Deputies and prosecutors with the Shelby County District Attorney General's office said Vice and Benton face hundreds of charges in the case.

Monday, store employee Marc Baldwin said Vice and Benton were arrested as the result of a misunderstanding.

"Legally, it looks as though they wouldn't have arrested the individuals that they arrested if they hadn't knowingly purchased the stolen merchandise," Baldwin said.  "But they really didn't know that it was stolen, and it was just a miscommunication."

Deputies said the owners of "Big Daddy's Pawn Shop" operate other pawn shops in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Memphis pawn shop occupies a building that was at one time a Target retail store.

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