Pawn Brokers Act


Florida courts have ruled that law enforcement may not recover stolen property from pawn shops and return it to a victim of a crime without providing the broker the opportunity for a hearing.

If you are a victim of a theft and your property has been located in a pawnshop, you may decide
to purchase it back or obtain a court order to recover the property.

In order to obtain a court order, you will need to file a petition for return of the property with the Sarasota County Clerk of Court. It is recommended that you seek legal assistance to file the petition.

The Florida Pawnbroking Act states:

  • To obtain possession of stolen property held by a pawnbroker, the victim must notify the broker by certified mail, return receipt requested, or in person, evidenced by a signed notice.
  • The notice must contain a complete and accurate description of the property and must be accompanied by a legible copy of the law enforcement agency’s report of the theft.
  • If the victim and the pawnbroker do not resolve the matter within 10 days after the pawnbroker’s receipt of the notice, the victim may petition the court to order the return of the property, naming the pawnbroker as a defendant.
  • The pawnbroker is required to hold the property until the right to possession is resolved by the parties or by the court.

To obtain your crime report, contact the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Records Section:
2071 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34237
Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 Steps to Obtain Possession or Pledged Goods Held by a Pawnbroker:

  1. Obtain Notice of Claim Form from Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office web site. Complete the form in its entirety and submit it to the pawn shop.
  2. If not resolved after 10 days, take the notice of claim form and copy of the crime report to the Clerk of Court.
  3. The Clerk of Court will file the petition and schedule a court date for the return of the misappropriated property.


Per F.S.S 539.001(15)(a), the court shall waive any filing fee for the petition and the Sheriff shall waive the service fee. 


Sarasota County Clerk of Court
(941) 861-7400
Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
2000 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL

For more information contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Property Recovery Unit, 941.861.4900.

This material is for general information only and shall not be construed as legal advice or counsel.