Owner of two South King County pawn shops sentenced to prison for trafficking in stolen goods and possession of images of child rape and abuse

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Seattle – A 46- year-old Auburn, Washington man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 6 years in prison and 15 years of supervised release for trafficking in stolen goods and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  Aleksandr Pavlovskiy pleaded guilty in October 2021, following a lengthy investigation by the FBI and Auburn Police Department.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said, the sentence was driven in part by “the stunning amount of stolen material.”

“This case highlights the tremendous value we place in state and federal law enforcement teamwork. The investigation began through the patient, dedicated work of an Auburn Police detective, who reached out to the FBI. It is through this sort of teamwork that we can root out all manner of crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “While the stolen property case is what brought us here, the possession of child pornography demonstrates the damage Mr. Pavlovskiy inflicted on the larger community.”

According to records filed in the case, between 2013 and 2016, Pavlovskiy operated two pawn shops: Thrift Electro in Renton, Washington and Innovation Best in Kent, Washington.  At the shops, Pavlovskiy directed employees to purchase stolen retail goods from shoplifters and others.  Employees paid the shoplifters cash for the items. Some of the items came from delivery drivers for online retailers who stole the packages and sold them to the pawn shops.

In 2016, Pavlovskiy established a warehouse in Kent where the stolen goods would be stored and repackaged for re-sale.  At the warehouse employees would use heat guns and scrapers to remove any tags from the items. Employees photographed the items and listed them for sale on eBay and Amazon.  Between January 2017 and July 2019, Pavlovskiy and his employees at the warehouse shipped hundreds of thousands of stolen items to purchasers across the United States.  The business generated between $1.5 million and $3.5 million on the sale of stolen goods.

The law enforcement investigation began in the summer of 2018, when an alert Auburn police detective noticed the large number of stolen goods being sold at pawn shops owned and operated by Mr. Pavlovskiy. In July 2019, state and federal law enforcement served search warrants on Pavlovskiy’s home, cars, and business locations.  At the warehouse they documented racks of stolen goods being processed for resale.  They took a number of electronic devices for analysis.  On Pavlovskiy’s devices, forensic analysis revealed more than 20,000 images or videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Pavlovskiy used file sharing software to obtain and share the images.

In imposing the sentence, Judge Coughenour directed Pavlovskiy serve 24 months on the child pornography count and 48 months on the trafficking in stolen property count, with the sentences to run consecutively.  Pavlovskiy is required to register as a sex offender.  He was ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution.  Of the 65 known sexual abuse victims identified during the investigation, six victims requested restitution to help defray costs of their ongoing mental health treatment, and for other crime-related expenses. Each victim will receive at least $2,000 in restitution.  The stolen property recovered in the investigation is being returned to the victim retailers.

The case was investigated by the FBI and Auburn Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Lang.