Pawn Shop Owners Arrested on Solicitation Charge


Timothy Joe Phillips and
Melda Diane Phillips

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Shoals husband and wife has been arrested, accused of soliciting criminals to bring stolen items to their Lauderdale County pawn shop.

Investigators say the couple has been under investigation by deputies for close to two years.

The parking lot at A-Plus Pawn Shop in Florence sits empty Thursday morning after the recent arrest of its owners.

According to sheriff’s investigators, Timothy Joe Phillips and his wife, Melda Diane Phillips, each face charges of receiving stolen property and criminal solicitation.

“He would make it pretty much where this group that this bunch that he had, what they call working for him, would go out and get stuff and bring it in,” explained Chief Investigator Travis Clemmons, with Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department.

Clemmons said his department has received numerous tips over the past two years, saying the Phillips knowingly bought stolen items.

Investigators say a lot of the stolen items in question involved gold jewelry.

“Jewelry is easy to get rid of, not easily identifiable, and with that he was taking advantage of that,” said Clemmons.

During a search of the business on Florence Boulevard, Clemmons said numerous items were seized.

Investigators are trying to determine through serial numbers if the items are stolen.

According to the Phillips’ defense attorney, the couple will be opening back up the pawn shop soon.

Both have been released from the Lauderdale County Detention Center on $3,500 bail.

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