Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Operation ID Can Help Recover Stolen Property


By Brittany Bivins

Almost every expensive item you own comes with a serial number. Knowing what it is can be the difference between getting it back or losing it forever, if you're a crime victim. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has a tool to help you keep track of that.

It's called Operation Identification. It's basically a personal database where you can enter information about your property, including serial numbers. It's all password-protected, so only you have access to that. It's also only available to the sheriff's office with your permission. Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham says he's seen firsthand how having stolen items' serial numbers can help catch a burglar.

"He broke into the residences the night before. The next morning, he was stopped in Tennessee, in Memphis. They ran the serial numbers and said ho-those are reported stolen. That's just how fast and how easy it was, because once we got those serial numbers, we're entering them into the NCIC right then."

That's the system that helps track stolen property. Law enforcement say getting the information quickly is the key to recovering it. That's why they say this system can be better than writing your serial numbers down on a piece of paper. It's easier to lose track of it, which can lose valuable time in the recovery of your property.

Jamarcus Wiley says someone broke into his house several years ago. Back then, he didn't have a system for storing serial numbers.

"They stole my TV, stole my x-box, and I ended up calling the police and filing a statement, but they weren't able to recover it. I ended up seeing it in a pawn shop, but without me having the serial number, I wasn't able to say it was mine for sure," said Wiley.

Woodland United Methodist Church in Pike Road was burglarized in 2007. Pastor Tim Meadows says the database is a good resource.

"I think it would bring a great peace of mind here in our community and our church, knowing that an effort such as this was out there to help secure our building and facility and all that we have there," said Meadows.

You can sign up by going to the sheriff's office website here.

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