FWPD detective recovers $1 million in stolen property, continues hunt

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Police Detective Joe Lyon looked back on old cases Tuesday, thinking about the impact his worked has produced over the years.

He’s crossed the million dollar mark as far as monetary value, but it’s that sentimental value that keeps him going.

“When I call people and say ‘I think I’ve found your stuff’, that ‘oh, my God, really?!’ I still get a chill,” Lyon explained. “I’ve been doing this since 2011 and I still get a chill.”

Lyon’s biggest score was $130,000 in jewelry taken from a store.

“I mean some of those items… I was just like ‘wow,’ Lyon said. “They were beautiful pieces of jewelry.”

His system of investigating got him that result.

Lyon starts by checking police reports. He’ll take notes on something stolen before checking an online database connecting pawn shops and other businesses. It keeps record of transactions. He then gets to work making connections.

“When it first came online and agencies started to really getting to use it, bad guys never knew what hit them,” Lyon explained with a smile. “We were locking people up left and right and recovering property like nobody’s business.”

A big part of Lyon’s investigations is his his relationship with pawn shop owners, checking in with them daily. In fact, the view from his office is B&B loan. It’s something that has worked to the department’s advantage on several occasions.

“When we take something in, if we don’t feel right about it, a lot of times, we contact Joe,” B&B Manager Desmond Gulley said.

More than once, that phone call has resulted in an on-site bust.

“When the rightful owner gets their merchandise back as part of the process, it’s a good feeling that we did what we’re supposed to do,” Gulley added.

Lyon has one of the more popular positions in the department and isn’t giving it up anytime soon.

“I could retire in two years if I want to. I don’t,” Lyon said. “I love what I do.”

He told NewsChannel 15 the oddest thing he’s recovered was four totes of beanie babies.