Police: Man faked robbery at Harlan pawn shop

By: Tanner Hesterberg, Angela Sparkman Email
By: Tanner Hesterberg, Angela Sparkman Email
Tony Arwood, 47, is behind bars and accused of faking a robbery at the pawn shop where he worked.

Tony Arwood is taken into custody Monday.

Update 5/6/13:

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - A Harlan County man is behind bars and accused of faking a robbery at the pawn shop where he worked.

Tony Arwood, 47, was arrested Monday after police executed a search warrant at his home.

Arwood was a clerk at V & J Pawn Shop in downtown Harlan. He told police on January 12 somebody pointed a gun at him and demanded his wallet and money from the register.

"The story really couldn't be verified then," Harlan Police Chief Mike Thomas said. "There were no other witnesses. He was never able to pick a suspect out of photo ID and just a lot of things didn't add up."

Arwood also reported two other robberies while working at the pawn shop in the past month.

"The recent burglary just seemed staged," Thomas said. "The evidence just didn't match up to what it should have been."

During a search of Arwood's home on Coal Street in Harlan, police looked for missing items from the shop and pawn tickets.

Thomas said he believes some customers paid Arwood to get their guns out of pawn but he was pocketing the money instead of giving it to the store.

Thomas confirmed police found "some evidence" during the search.

Arwood is charged with 13 counts of theft by unlawful taking in relation to the firearms, one separate count of theft by unlawful taking, two counts of falsely reporting an incident and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

Each count is a class D felony that carries one to five years in prison.

Arwood was fired from the pawn shop last week.

"Due to a sudden loss of a lot of inventory and a lot of income, I just think the store owner wasn't able to keep him going." Thomas said.

Arwood was taken to the Harlan County Detention Center on a full, $20 thousand cash bond.

Arwood declined comment as he was being arrested. His family members also declined to comment.


Original story, 1/14/13:

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Harlan police say they have little leads in a weekend pawn shop robbery.

Officers say a man robbed V & J Pawn Shop at gunpoint on Saturday.

The V & J Pawn Shop is closed for a few days after a robbery.

Police say around three o'clock Saturday afternoon, a man came in and threatened the clerk.

"Showed a weapon and basically said, 'This is a robbery; give me all your money,'" said Mike Thomas, Harlan Police Chief.

Police say the man got away with several hundred dollars from the cash register and the clerk's wallet, and then ran out of the store.

"Evidently he was pretty desperate and needed some money. He just got cash and fled," said Chief Thomas.

Customers who came to the store on Monday and saw the closed signs were surprised to hear a robbery happened in downtown in the middle of the day.

"It's a shame. It's sad. It's a shame to come down to people robbing off other people. It's sad," said Jeff Farmer who is also friends with the store owners.

Police say the only suspect description the clerk could give is a man with dark hair, a slender build, and a tear drop tattoo under his left eye. He was wearing a blue jean jacket.

The robber was last seen walking south on Main Street out of the pawn shop. Police say many of the nearby businesses were closed Saturday when the robbery happened, so no one saw if the robber walked or had a car when he left the pawn shop.

Police are asking the public for help identifying the suspect.

"I hope they catch them. It's an injustice for them to get away with stuff like this, you know," said Farmer.

Anyone with information can call the Harlan Police Department at 606-573-1121.

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