November 5, 2019
By Aaron Sanderford
The Omaha City Council on Tuesday extended by five years the city contract for the database that the Omaha Police Department uses to identify and return stolen property sold to local pawnshops and secondhand stores.
The new, roughly $56,500-a-year deal with Texas-based LeadsOnline means that police and local retailers covered under city ordinance will continue to use the service through 2024.
Police say the system has helped them return more than $1.2 million in stolen property in the three-plus years since the city passed an ordinance requiring stores to log fingerprints, photos and IDs from people selling used items.
Among the items identified and returned: jewelry, electronics, snowblowers, bicycles and sporting goods.
Police sought the extension because they say the software lets them check images and information on items sold to pawnshops and secondhand shops against police reports filed. Investigators then follow up on leads.
Through the end of September, the system helped officers identify and return 1,305 stolen items, according to police. The average value of each of those stolen items: $923, though individual values varied widely.
The sponsor of the ordinance, Councilman Pete Festersen, has said it helps to have criminals know it’s harder to get rid of stolen items in Omaha.
No retailers spoke in opposition to the extension Tuesday.