Rolex watch caught in robbery finally returned – NBC Los Angeles

More than a year after a violent street break-in seriously injured an elderly couple, husband and wife are now set to recover a Rolex wristwatch stolen in the assault.

The watch was held at a Los Angeles pawnshop who loaned the thief more than $ 16,000 and demanded that victims of the theft pay the store that amount to recover their own stolen goods.

“Almost my life is going away,” Hasin Oh told the I-Team of the beatings and the roadside robbery that took place in Henderson, Nevada on October 19, 2019. Oh was struck down. to the head, arms and body before his precious watch. was pulled from his wrist. His wife was beaten as she tried to intervene and injured her legs.

The 24-karat gold watch was a 75th birthday gift from the three adult children of Hasin and Myungja Oh, who said it represented their father’s remarkable achievement of his own “American dream” and was a symbol of his accomplishments then. that he was retiring.

Hasin and Myungja Oh immigrated from South Korea to the United States in 1975 with only a few hundred dollars. They worked in delivery and service before they saved enough money to open a discount store, and later bought, managed, and built motels and hotels before retiring to the Las Vegas area.

“We thought this was going to be the start of our family legacy,” her daughter Sumee said.

She called the I-Team after receiving a formal notice from the pawnshop and finding nothing with local police, who said there was little they could do as the dispute was a civil matter .

According to an attorney familiar with California laws that regulate the pawn shop industry, stores can be seen as a second “victim” when stolen goods are inadvertently purchased or pledged, and the law allows brokers to recover from dealers. victims of crime the amount of money that was paid to whoever brought the stolen goods.

Sometimes stolen items are returned to victims by a judge after a thief has been prosecuted, which could not happen in this case as the man who police say stole and pawned the watch is dead.

Henderson police sent investigators and a crime scene technician to the Oh’s home after the robbery. The couple’s car was cleaned for DNA and dusted for fingerprints. When analyzed, a swab produced a DNA profile that matched a person already entered in CODIS, the national criminal DNA database.

“It actually goes to the person who pawned the item,” Detective Henderson PD Nathan Calvano told I-Team.

This man’s name was Robert E. Pearce, 39, and within days Calvano learned that the stolen watch had been pawned at a brokerage in Los Angeles, Mr. Steve’s Pawn Shop, after the store entered. the watch’s serial number in an electronic system that connects to a law enforcement database.

Calvano obtained the watch papers from the store and found that the person who returned the watch left an electronic fingerprint as part of the transaction. It corresponded to Pearce.

“So I submitted an arrest warrant affidavit to the Clark County district attorney’s office,” said Calvano, who charged Pearce with robbery.

On January 27, 2021, members of an LAPD-FBI Fugitive Task Force attempted to arrest Pearce at a 5th-floor apartment on Sunset Boulevard near North Cherokee Avenue. After officers and officers knocked, Pearce could be seen exiting through a sliding door to a balcony.

The research led Marshals from LA Mexico to OC. Eric Leonard reports on March 29, 2021.

“Pearce was seen climbing over the railing where he attempted to descend to a lower balcony one floor below,” an LAPD detective wrote in a death report.

“Pearce lost his grip and fell about five stories when landing on the south sidewalk of Sunset Blvd.” Pearce died about two hours later in the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Since there was no prosecution, a judge was unable to order the return of the watch.

Sumee Oh said she was furious to learn that the pawnshop bought the watch directly from the man who attacked her parents and refused to return it to its rightful owner without payment.

“It was straight from the man who, you know, beat my dad until he passed out and left my mom with a lifelong injury,” she said. “To be safe, or you know, the restitution would have to come from the deceased, the criminal who victimized Mr. Steve and us.” “

After the I-Team inquired into the circumstances of the case, Mr. Steve’s Pawn sent a letter to NBC Los Angeles saying the store would return the watch to the Oh family, if the family agreed to allow a claim against its insurance policies.

On Monday evening, the store’s attorney said the owner had decided, “after careful consideration,” to return the watch unconditionally.

“My client will return the watch to the Oh family and waive their claim for recovery of the costs associated with pledging this item,” the attorney said. Mr. Steve’s owner declined to discuss the matter with NBCLA.

A representative for the pawnshop, who declined to be identified or cited, said the store was also a victim and the watch may never have been found had it been sold as part of a private or street-sold – where the serial number would not have been added to a law enforcement database.

Floyd N. Morlan