A rare felony charge could help curb Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic and property theft. Property theft is a common, often overlooked, consequence of the opioid epidemic. In some cases, thieves are turning to pawn shops to generate cash to fee their addiction. Law enforcement officials regularly check NEWPERS, a national database used by pawnshops to log property, for stolen items. Every time someone pawns something, they must sign a government document swearing they didn’t steal it. Lying on the form could lead to a felony charge called false swearing, which carries a six-year maximum penalty. Despite the number of opioid addicts in Wisconsin who earn stolen property for drug money, prosecutors rarely issue the charge. Most pawnshops don’t have an official notary to authorize the sale. Without a notary gathering the signature, a false swearing charge cannot be issued. The state is working on changing the fact and making sure notary’s are present at all pawn shops.