DEAR JEFF: While on vacation in Mexico, I bought a used Rolex watch from a pawn shop. Upon returning home, I sent it to Rolex to be serviced. I got a letter from Rolex informing me the watch was reported as stolen in 2002, but for $500 they will release it to me. Can they do this? Doesn’t it matter that I bought it from a pawn shop? Signed, “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain”
Dear “Haven’t Got Time”: You are what is referred to in the law as a “good faith purchaser for value.” Unfortunately, you are also out of luck. Texas law states that even a good faith purchaser of stolen property must turn the property over to the original owner. This applies no matter how innocently the purchaser acquires the property.