Pawn shop owner/operator arrested after 10-month police investigation

A 10-month investigation leads Metro Police to raid a local pawn shop. Home Depot led them to begin the investigation. Thousands of items were seized.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 4:20 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:43 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Over 1,000 stolen items were seized by Metro Police from a Middle Tennessee pawn shop on Tuesday.

A 10-month investigation led Metro Police to carry out search warrants simultaneously at four Music City Pawn locations – three in Davidson County and one in Franklin.

“Whenever these businesses take in products that compromise stolen, primarily by shoplifters and boosters, they find an outlet such as Music City Pawn where they can turn around and sell it,” Metro Police Lt. Michael Warren with the Property Crimes Division said. “Most pawnshops will scrutinize something that comes into their store that’s brand new and boxed. We found out through our investigations over 10 months that Music City Pawn does not do that kind of diligence when it comes to the product walking into their stores.”

Metro Police said the investigation began when a local Home Depot reached out about a lot of their products being sold online without their authorization.

Police said they worked with at least seven retailers including Home Depot, Kroger, Publix, Lowes, Walgreens, CVS and Target.

“We know a lot of this is moved through their eBay store and to the tune of well over six figures, nearly touching seven figures so it’s a very substantial crime. It’s not a small crime,” Warren said. “It’s a conduit for thieves to be able to upload stolen stuff for whatever they need it for. Whether they’re purchasing drugs, trying to find whatever fix they needed.”

Warren said an analysis from one retailer on items stolen from them and seen on Music City Pawn’s eBay page last year was about $700,000.

“That’s what the boosters that we talk to, that we interview, they say we know Music City Pawn is an easy way,” Warren said. “A lot of stuff doesn’t get scrutinized.”

On Tuesday police said they seized about 1,500 to 2,000 items from all four Music City Pawn locations. They seized large items like full-size generators. Other stolen items sold at the pawn shop include electronics like rechargeable batteries, and Rumba vacuum cleaners stolen from major retailers.

“They’re the ones that suffer on the corporate side of this,” Warren said. “We, as citizens, suffer every day when we watch the cost of all of the items we buy go up because of the loss suffered through these types of thefts.”

The primary owner of the business, Damon Holland, 52, was arrested on Tuesday and is charged with three counts of money laundering in Williamson County and one count of organized retail crime in Davidson County.

Police also arrested John Barker, 38, a primary booster they said sold over 4,000 new or boxed items at Music City Pawn over the last couple years.

“The biggest message, especially for pawn shops, is Davidson County is not going to tolerate you operating in an illegal capacity,” Warren said. “We want you to operate the way your license allows; the way the pawn broker act says you can do business. It is not this way, and we will not tolerate it.”

Investigators said some stolen items were sold at the pawn shop for 15 to 20 cents on the dollar.

It’s an ongoing investigation and police said there could be pending charges against other Music City Pawn employees.

“Prices today are high enough without Nashvillians having to pay more because of stealing from retailers,” Metro Police Chief John Drake said. “Today’s investigation, which involves the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise, is attempting to greatly reduce the market for stolen goods.”

Officers on Tuesday morning simultaneously entered all three Nashville Music City Pawn locations at 2638 Nolensville Pike, 3041 Dickerson Pike, and 3930 Lebanon Pike and are in the process of seizing merchandise that appears to be new/stolen.

Police said Holland conducted business from the Franklin location. Franklin Police Department officers assisted in the investigation. Holland is charged with three counts of money laundering in Williamson County and one count of organized retail crime in Davidson County. Barker is charged with three counts of theft in Davidson County.