by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
MONROE - Monroe police have arrested a pawn shop owner on charges he bought and sold stolen goods.
Howard Katon is facing charges of possession of stolen goods, failure of record keeping requirements and accessory after the fact.
Police said their investigation started after they arrested Tracy Pugh on allegations he broke into homes in South Carolina and stole a laptop and a gold class ring.
Investigators said Pugh, who had recently been released from prison after serving time for breaking and entering, went to Cash-It-In on Highway 74 in Monroe to sell the class ring for cash.
"These individuals that own these stores have to follow a certain procedure," said city spokesman Pete Hovanec.
Instead, detectives said the store's owner, Howard Katon, bought the ring and altered the sale date on the pawn ticket.
Police said Katon then removed the ring's stone and attempted to disguise it by smashing it.
"It's our belief that he then took that item and went to a different store in that area to resell it," Hovanec said.
Katon told Channel 9 he was not at the store at the time Pugh sold the ring, and that it was a former female employee who disobeyed store policy and re-sold the ring at another pawn shop.
Katon is already facing charges from an arrest in November 2012 after police say he purchased stolen goods from Charles and Amanda Bowers, former paper carriers for the Enquirer-Journal, who were convicted of burglarizing subscribers' homes.
The case – comprising of 18 criminal charges – is still pending in Union County Court, but Katon denied any criminal wrongdoing in either case to Eyewitness News.
Pugh remains in the Union County Jail. Katon will face a judge on his most recent arrest on April 9.