Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A lot of people are hoping to find high-tech toys under the tree this Christmas. Digital cameras, iPads and flat screen TV's are at the top of many wish lists. Unfortunately, those are also the favorites for thieves who can't wait to break into your home and take off with your new gifts.
What's the number one thing you can do to protect those purchases?
It's easy to do. It doesn't take long, yet - hardly anybody ever does it. If police had one wish this holiday, it'd be that everyone do this one thing: record all your serial numbers.
People work hard to buy electronic gadgets and gizmos. But, those hard earned purchases will be pawned, fenced or sold at flea markets before you can get to the chorus of Jingle Bells.
If a thief walks off with your TV and you don't have your serial number, they own it and you're sunk.
Police check stolen property reports everyday against pawn shop receipts, but without serial numbers, there's nothing they can do.
"If we can't prove it's stolen, they never get charges filed on them and it sits in our property room and eventually goes to auction," said Captain Karen Ford of the Tulsa Police Department.
There are many ways to record your serial numbers. You can take the old fashioned approach and write them down and while you're at it, take pictures of everything too. Or, you can download the iPhone app called home inventory or iInventory that helps you keep that information right at your fingertips.
Plus, Business Watch International's web page allows you to type in your serial numbers for free under a section called Homewatch. That site gives police an instant alert once a registered item is being pawned, so they could know your TV is missing before you do, if you're out of town.
"This is the best way, even if you are a victim, to get a little payback. You'll get your stuff back and somebody is going to jail," Captain Ford said.
Right now, criminals know even if they're caught red-handed, chances are the real owner won't know their serial number, so the thief will get away scott-free. Police say it's time we change that.
Another easy way to keep track of your things is to go to tulsa police dot org and click on property inventory at the top and either print a form to fill out - or do it online.
However you do it, just get it done, keep it in a safe place and hope you never need it.