Halstead said he's impressed that the Leads Online database helped catch Young. Most of the items he buys, such as copper wiring, cannot be easily traced through the system.
"Unless something has a serial number, there's no way we can tell where it came from," Halstead said.
Kanawha County Cpl. Brian Humphreys said that although the database is new to the county, it's been instrumental in helping police find allegedly stolen items already.
Charleston police raided a pawnshop on the West Side last October after its owner allegedly failed to enter information into the registry. Detectives recovered jewelry reported stolen. South Charleston police raided a survival shop along Washington Street West last September. The owner had allegedly bought stolen electronic equipment and failed to report it.
Humphreys said the database has its limitations, however. Not everything that's reported stolen can easily be traced, he said, such as equipment without serial numbers.
Halstead said he was subpoenaed to testify against 30 defendants for transferring and receiving stolen items last year. None of those cases went to trial, he said. He believes a lot of these cases can be traced to a prescription pill abuse epidemic.
"When I handed the light fixtures back to the officer, I asked him, 'Will you please help these people?'"
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.