In May of 1987, a group of property recovery detectives within the Tampa Bay area, formed the first property recovery unit in the United States. They gathered in an attempt to answer an age old problem plaguing law enforcement, “How can law enforcement increase the recovery of stolen property and place the guilty in jail?” The detectives realized that property crimes were continually increasing and the resources needed to attack this investigation focused on the thief and his acquired or stolen property. This group of detectives realized the need to utilize the “Dynamic” approach which focuses on property rather than relying on the arrest of the criminal. The detectives realized that a “Fence” was a major part of the problem and by using a “Fence” the criminal was able to convert the stolen property to cash. The “Fence” would bear the burden of selling the property to new property owners. Sometimes the new owners were unsuspecting of the properties origin, due to the reputation of the seller.
This group recognized that information exchange on a statewide level was necessary to effectively track stolen goods, match recovered goods to victims and apprehend criminals. The group decided to formally organize the “Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit” (FLEPRU), as the group is known, has divided the state into five regions, each have a District Director.
Each director is responsible for providing members and other Law Enforcement Agencies with local, state and federal intelligence information. FLEPRU holds statewide training seminars and conferences annually. Statewide meetings provide current information on changes in the laws which affect property crimes and property recovery as well as in subject areas ranging from operating a property recovery unit to second hand dealer and car title loan transactions. FLEPRU seminars utilize guest instructors such as state legislators, judges, private sector executives and experts in the field of property investigation and recovery. FLEPRU membership is open to all law enforcement agencies and personnel along with approved non-law enforcement investigators, such as in the insurance industry. Small and large law enforcement agencies alike have benefited from membership in FLEPRU. FLEPRU has no annual membership fees and is a non-profit corporation.