Sarasota pawn shop shut down after sheriff's office investigation

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SARASOTA, FL. – A Sarasota pawnbroker's license is being revoked following an investigation by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Jim Smith, owner of Jim's Pawn, 6526 B, South Tamiami Trail was notified by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Smith was the central figure in Operation Recommit, an investigation that resulted in the arrest of six members of an organized crime ring. Smith knowingly bought stolen property through his pawn shop and directed crime ring members to bring products to him by giving them itemized lists. In its Administrative Complaint, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services noted Smith admitted to this illicit activity, as well as providing cash to known drug users in exchange for sexual favors.

Smith can no longer conduct new transactions and must contact current customers to give them the opportunity to either pick up their items or advise him if they relinquish ownership. Any Jim's Pawn customers who need to contact Smith can do so by calling 941-923-7171. Smith has 21 days to request an administrative hearing with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to dispute the revocation.

"This collaborative effort between our two agencies is designed to address root causes of crime," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "Because of our I2A philosophy of using intelligence to prevent and disrupt crime, we expect that targeting things like a lucrative market for stolen property will correlate into a reduction in crime numbers."

Smith will not be eligible for further licensure for five years. He is charged with two felony counts of Organized Dealing in Stolen Property and one misdemeanor pawn broking violation. If convicted of a felony, Smith faces three years in prison and would not be eligible for a state license for 10 years.