LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lebanon business owner who allegedly bought and sold stolen merchandise is facing additional charges that he was running an illegal pawn shop.
Larry Ardell Jones, 51, was charged with a violation of the Pawnbrokers License Act after numerous people told authorities they left items of property with his store, JT’s Buy and Sell, in exchange for short term loans, Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold said in a news release.
The people claimed they had to repay the loan by a certain day or they would forfeit their rights to their property.
Arnold said the allegations meet the definition of pawning, which requires a license from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking that Jones did not have.
Jones was additionally charged with prohibited offensive weapons after authorities said they found three shotguns with barrels lengths less than 18 inches during a search of his home on March 31.
Arnold additionally announced charges against four employees of the now-closed JT’s Buy and Sell at 49 South 8th Street.
Dwaine N. Wike, 37, of Lebanon, was charged with racketeering, money laundering, organized retail theft, receiving stolen property, criminal conspiracy, a firearms offense, and a violation of the Pawnbroker’s License Act.
The district attorney said Wike managed the store and was responsible for posting the stolen merchandise on eBay and shipping it to buyers. The firearms charge stems from weapons discovered in the business during a police search.
Gary L. Stegall, 28, of Lebanon; Shaun A. Gettle, 35, of Womelsdorf; and William C. Taylor, 23, of Myerstown, were each charged via summons with racketeering, receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy to commit organized retail theft.
Investigators allege the three routinely purchased merchandise they knew, or had reason to believe was stolen.
Jones initially was charged April 2 after authorities said he paid shoplifters for the products they stole from national retailers, then sold the items online and at his store.
Arnold said police seized more than $70,000 in suspected stolen goods at JT’s Buy and Sell and another $20,000 worth from a warehouse on Federal Street during an investigation that began in January 2014.