Pawnbroker arrested for alleged improper records

On Wed., Jan. 16, Chaffee County sheriff’s deputies, assisted by several Salida police officers, executed a search warrant at Mountain Pawn and Gun, 501 E. Highway 50 in Salida.  The warrant was obtained after an investigation into a recent theft uncovered suspected stolen items at the business.  Random checks of other items in the store disclosed that the pawn shop owner could not produce transaction records as required by state statute.

In executing the search warrant, officers and deputies inspected more than 500 items and discovered that the business owner could produce little or no documentation for 455 items as required by Colorado state statute.  In addition the business owner was unable to indicate which items had been in his possession for more than three years as required by law.  Deputies seized the items and placed them in storage pending further investigation.

On Sunday evening, January 20, deputies obtained an arrest warrant for the business owner, Michael Eugene Shaffer, 53, of Salida.  The warrant charges Shaffer with 455 counts of violation of CRS 12-56-103, Violation of Required Acts of Pawnbrokers.  The charge is a class I misdemeanor that carries a penalty of six to 18 months in jail and fines of $500 to $5,000.

Shaffer was arrested at his place of business at about noon Tuesday after failing to turn himself in as he had agreed to do on Sunday evening.  He was booked into the detention center with a bond of $5,000.

The sheriff’s office emphasizes that at this time the charges against Mr. Shaffer are for alleged improper record-keeping only.  No other criminal charges have been filed.

In all, eight officers and deputies assisted in the search.  They were from the sheriff’s office, Salida Police Department, and the local office of the district attorney. An agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) was present to conduct an inspection of the firearms and sales records on the premises.

For further information, contact Undersheriff John Spezze at 719-207-3199.

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