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Corbin pawn shop operator arrested for trying to sell stolen guns

Pawn shop owner James King was taken into custody by police Thursday for allegedly attempted to resell stolen guns out of his store.

A Corbin business owner maintains his innocence concerning charges that he purchased and attempted to resell nine guns he knew had been taken in a home burglary earlier this year.

James Woodrow King, 51, said he did not know the rifles and shotguns he had for sale at his store, Design House, at 206 South Main Street, were stolen.

“You will have to arrest every pawn shop owner,” King said as Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell led him away in handcuffs.

Harrell said the guns were taken during a burglary on Alsip Lane in Tattersall on Jan. 13. The guns included two .22-caliber rifles, a 30-30 rifle, two 12-gauge shotguns, two 20-gauge shotguns and a 410-gauge shotgun and one other unidentified gun.

The guns are valued at more than $3,600

Harrell noted that the price King paid for the weapon was much lower than their estimated value.

While there is no system in place that allows dealers and pawn shop owners to check with local law enforcement concerning stolen merchandise, Harrell said owners/operators are required to keep written records, which law enforcement routinely checks. No such records for these nine weapons existed.

Along with King, law enforcement arrested, Donald Leone, 35, of Corbin whom Harrell said split the cost of buying the guns with King and splits the store space with King.

Corbin Building Inspector Frank Burke said King and Leone are operating two different businesses out of the building. Leone owns and operates Design House Jewelry. King’s business involved concealed carry weapons training and defense classes.

Burke said King’s business was located on 5th Street Road. Leone had failed to obtain a Corbin business license as required by city ordinance. Burke said an order to close the business had been prepared but Leone obtained the license before the order could be served and was permitted to continue in business.

“King had his license,” Burke said. “I went in there one day and he had it posted on the wall.”

Soon after taking King into custody, law enforcement served arrest warrants on Jerry Wayne Hart, 40 of Corbin and Nancy Leons, 40 of Corbin on burglary charges stemming from the home burglary.

Harrell said the arrests and recovery of the guns was the result of the efforts of Lt. Millard Root in following up on a tip.

King and Donald Leone have each been charged with one count of receiving stolen property over $500 – firearm.  Hart and Leons each face one count of first-degree burglary.



Les Goldman (January 31, 2013) Reply

Any reasonable pawn shop owner or average person is going to realize that when an assortment of guns are offered for sale at an extremely reduced price, the guns are more than likely stolen.

Rick Harrison (February 05, 2013) Reply

"You will have to arrest every pawn shop owner." Not a bad idea! If you do YOUR job and pay attention to the type of people bringing goods in for sale. Most of the nere-do-wells don't look like they could own the things brought in. It's not rocket science! Your appetite for money feeds their appetite. You should be held accountable as well as them. Good job Sheriff!

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