Pawn shop owner pleads guilty

Published 5:18 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An illegal pawnshop operator earned seven years in prison after pleading to violating the sex offender registration and notification act.

Joel Rex Kelley, 59, was convicted of sexual battery in Louisiana and was required to register his home address and place of business with local authorities and is prohibited from either living and working within 2,000 feet of a school or daycare facility. In 2012, he opened “Kelley’s Bargain Spot” in a location that had him within that limit of both Dimples Daycare and Andalusia Elementary School.

Court records show that Kelley did not register with the Andalusia Police Department and that he claimed he was not working at the pawn shop; however, video surveillance of the business proved otherwise.  Andalusia Police Investigator Jason Curry arrested Kelley for failing to register his place of employment and for maintaining employment in a prohibited workplace.

“A sexual predator harms his victims not only physically, but emotionally, destroying their senses of self-worth and security,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Grace Jeter. “Because of this, the law puts special restrictions on sex offenders – requiring them to register with their local law enforcement agency four times a year and absolutely prohibiting them from living or working near schools and daycares

“Joel Kelley thought he could skate around the law and no one would check up on him, but he was wrong,” she said.