Deitz says each pawnshop has its own electronic software in which employees insert the make, model, description and serial numbers of items they receive. At the beginning or end of each business day, the pawnshops are expected to upload that information to LeadsOnline, a national database.
LeadsOnline is said to be the nation's largest online investigation system used by detectives for the investigation of crimes in order to catch crooks.
Deitz said if the serial number on LeadsOnline is compatible with the one in the National Crime Information Center's computerized index, he would do an initial recovery of the stolen item(s) and immediately begin an investigation. He looks at who pawned the item, whether that person knew the item was stolen before pawning it, as well as other factors before he moves forward with prosecution.
Deitz said his department works collaboratively with other state police departments and departments within West Virginia to recover stolen merchandise and move forward with investigations.
In Ashley's case, Deitz said the pawnshop failed to upload the serial number into LeadsOnline and that is why her Xbox had not been found yet.
An assistant manager at Kanawha Valley Fine Jewelry and Loan in St. Albans, the pawnshop where Ashley purchased her stolen X-box, said employees upload information into LeadsOnline each morning.
Deitz said the serial numbers have to be entered correctly to LeadsOnline or there will not be a match and stolen merchandise may never be found.
Deitz said LeadsOnline has helped his department solve a lot of cases.
"Many people are shocked when their property is returned in short order or when it was an item that had been missing for years," Deitz said. "We were once able to track down someone's stolen items before finishing the police report."
Deitz said he finds more stolen merchandise in pawnshops during the summer months and around Christmas time.
LeadsOnline has a section on its website, www.leadsonline.com, in which people can register their items in case those items were to get stolen.
Ashley's investigation is ongoing, and Deitz said his department will take care of the situation.
John Gibb can be contacted at 304-348-1796 or john.g...@dailymail.com.