Kansas City pawn shop owner faces prison after admitting to $740K stolen items scheme

A pawn shop owner in Kansas City admitted last week to engaging in a years-long conspiracy to sell more than 14,000 items that had been stolen from retail outlets throughout the metro area.

Dennis Russell, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property after federal prosecutors alleged he engaged in a more than $740,000 scheme to sell 14,672 stolen items online.

Russell served as one of two members on the board of directors for Rison of KC Inc., which conducted business as National Pawn on East Truman Road in the city’s East Blue Valley neighborhood.

During the conspiracy from 2017 to 2021, people called “boosters” stole items like robot vacuum cleaners and teeth whitening products from various retailers, including Target and Walmart. They then sold them to National Pawn for a fraction of the retail price.

In turn, Russell and Rison of KC sold the stolen items on eBay through two accounts: “somewhere-n-ks” and “816kcmosales.”

Russell now faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced. He must also pay the government a money judgment for the $744,222 made during the conspiracy.

Rison of KC was also charged and, as a corporation, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri. It admitted to the criminal conspiracy.

As part of the agreement, the corporation will provide the government an updated list of all of its financial accounts and keep its receipts from the purchase of new items.

The case was investigated by Kansas City police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.