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The Hub is piloting a new Web-based weapon designed to smash the stolen property industry.
Boston police yesterday launched the new stolen property database, which can be accessed by the public to easily identify stolen property before they buy and help police identify the fencers.
"If someone tries to sell you a laptop and you are suspicious, you can check the serial number (of the property) on the database and it will be able to tell you if it's stolen," said Deputy Supt. Bill Casey, director of information and technology for the Boston Police Department.
"If it comes back as stolen, then we are notified that someone has queried that piece of stolen property and we can contact that person and find out who tried to sell it to them."
The system works by allowing crime victims to enter details of their stolen property, especially crucial serial numbers, directly into the online database from their own computers.
It means that if cops recover stolen goods, serial numbers can be quickly matched up with a victim anywhere in the country and they can be reunited.
It also allows pawn shops and members of the public to easily check whether goods being offered are stolen or not - and, it is hoped, make crooks think twice about peddling their illegal swag, Casey said.
"If this works well, we can really get the public to be a force multiplier to check and recover stolen property," Casey said.
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