Re; stolen stuff in pawn shops. They have to make regular police reports and the police troll the shops looking for stolen items. I imagine some get through anyway, but it's hardly correct to say that huge amounts of inventory are stolen. People that are in need of money pawn things. Usually they are people who can't count, since the terms are very unfavorable, like 30 % or so. State regulate the amount charged. Pawn shops would much rather people pay off their loans and redeem their merchandis.
I have gotten bargains in things I know something about, like tools. If it isn't a bargain, I don't get it. It's amazing how the pawnshop clerk's attitude changes when he sees you about to put down a handful of tools and walk out. I would never try to buy something i know little about; for example, I never buy or even look at jewelry. So the first rule of buying in pawn shops is the same as buying anywhere else: know the value of what you are looking at. Ridiculous prices in shops? Yes, but we have all seen more than new prices paid at auctions. Same principle applys, know value.
Going to flea market tomorrow. One tool jockey there said that in times past he had bought $20-30,000 worth of tools from one pawn shop. Haven't figured out where the antique farm tool dealer gets his stuff, but he has vises, plows, blacksmith tools, etc.