It is illegal to pawn items you rent

OKEECHOBEE — A woman was arrested Aug. 17 and charged with defrauding a pawn broker after she allegedly rented items from a local business and drove straight to a pawn shop and pawned them, claiming she owned them. Her bond was set at $5,000.

Wanda O’Sheilds

A local business called the Okeechobee Police Department on Aug. 17 to report a customer had rented an item and gone straight to a pawn shop with it. Officer Jessica Francis was dispatched and went to the pawn shop hoping to catch the woman while she was still there, but when she arrived, she made contact with an employee who told her the woman she was looking for had just left. The employee told her Wanda O’Sheilds had pawned a laptop the day before for $150 and a tablet that day for $50.

The owner of the business where O’Sheilds allegedly rented the items met Officer Francis at the pawn shop and explained a second customer happened to be in her shop at the same time as O’Sheilds and then later walked into the pawn shop and witnessed her pawning the equipment she had just rented. That customer phoned the business owner to let her know what was happening. Both businesses presented Officer Francis with matching paperwork on the equipment.

Later that evening, 33-year-old O’Sheilds was arrested at her residence on Southeast 37th Avenue and transported to the Okeechobee County Jail.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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