ON GOLDEN PAWN

DESPERATE PEOPLE WILL HOCK ALMOST ANYTHING FOR QUICK CASH. THAT'S WHY PAWNSHOPS ARE BUSTLING, AND THE COPS ARE BUSTING

The case went before a grand jury in June, and based on what he's seen, Gonzalez's attorney, Larry Debus, says he is attempting to have Finnerty's grand jury testimony made public. "There's no evidence [against Alex]," he says. "What this cop really wanted to do was nail the owner, and so he goes after this guy."

Hammond, the woman in the middle who says she has children by both Jachimek and Detective Finnerty's part-time employer, declined to comment.

Finnerty, because of the ongoing investigation, won't comment.
"I don't know how these cops can look themselves in the mirror," Gonzalez says. "They're gonna have to shave with their eyes closed."

Jachimek says, "If I thought Alex had done one thing wrong, I would have told him, plea bargain, put this thing behind you and go on with your life. But there's really no reason Alex should have gotten charged with anything. The only reason I've talked to anyone and complained after eight years in the business is because I'd rather wash dishes at a restaurant than be in fear of doing the right thing."

The case goes to trial on November 28, two days before Gonzalez's daughter, Sierra, will celebrate her first birthday.

The pawnshop industry continues to grow. Cash America, Jack Daugherty's chain of shops sprawling across the South, netted $11 million in 1991. The clientele is expanding, and so are those who want a piece of the action.

"A lot of people try this business and a lot of people fail," says Mark Gonshak of the Arizona Pawn Association. "They think people will just flood in the doors and sell their stuff to you, and it doesn't happen. . . . They don't capitalize for a couple of years, and then they just fold."

Still, many others are successful, particularly if you know the business and your competition. Pawnshops are blossoming, particularly in states with high interest rates, such as Texas, where the annual allowable rate is 240 percent, compared to Arizona's 42 percent. Just the same, it's a profitable, territorial business, and Bill Jachimek himself has plans to open a fifth store once the Gonzalez case and his complaint against the police department are resolved.

Nine other pawnshops opened this year in Phoenix, ready to try their hand at the trade.

One of them opened late this summer and belongs to a retired Phoenix police detective by the name of James J. Finnerty.

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