by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:MONROE, N.C. —
The owner of a cash-for-gold store is denying charges he altered pawn tickets to cash in on stolen goods.
Monroe Police arrested Howard Katon Wednesday on nearly 20 different criminal counts, including forgery, possession of stolen goods, and violation of the precious metals law.
Police say an investigation into home burglaries in Union County led them to Katon's Cash for Gold store in Highway 74, where they say they discovered discrepancies in his records.
"We pulled those tickets that they had collected from his shop and looked at those tickets and discovered the alterations he had made," said Monroe police Sgt. Mike Smith.
Smith said the man accused of breaking into the homes sold some of the stolen jewelry at Katon's store.
"North Carolina law requires gold and precious metals buyers who buy jewelry to hold it for seven days before they can dispose of it," said Smith.
But Smith said Katon did not wait the required days and altered the sales tickets.
"(What) he was doing was forging the dates on the documents that allowed him to immediately dispose of the jewelry," Smith said.
Police said Katon then resold the jewelry to another pawn shop for cash.
"He was making significantly more money than other similar businesses in the city," said Smith.
Eyewitness News reached Katon by phone Friday night, who refused an on-camera interview. He blamed the record discrepancies on a faulty copy machine and completely denied the charges.
Katon told Channel 9 police were trumping up his charges because he refused to admit any guilt when officers raided his store.
He told Eyewitness News he has been in the business for 40 years and has a clean record.
Channel 9 did not find any other arrests or convictions in a background check of Katon.