Could be...but if that were true then why does the local PD have officers assigned full-time to police pawn shops only?
Valid question that also indicates that you are familiar with some of the regulation.
Historically, pawn shops had the reputation for receiving stolen goods. They were the one type of formal business present in most cities that regularly exchanged money for used goods, either through pawn or purchase, redeption of pawn, or sale. In doing so, the pawn shop was in a position to receive stolen goods simply by the nature of the transations that they conducted. At the time, pawn information was verbal and no identification required. That meant items could be pawned or sold under fictional names.
Somewhere along the way regulations were implemented that required identification for pawning and selling items to pawn shops and most states up ramped up the requirements to be actual state or federal ID or state DL and as noted above, some require a finger print as well.
This means that the person pawning or selling an item to a pawn shop has to present identification and hence will be tied to the item being pawned. Few people are moronic enough to pawn or sell an item to a pawn shop that they know to be stolen and provide their actual identification. Those few folks are caught very quickly in most cases, such as this idiot who stole and sold an Olympic torch...
The expense of passable forged identification isn't worth the low amount of return attained through pawning.
Where pawn shops do sometimes receive lost or stolen goods (and this does work for lost items) is when the stolen items are sold to a 3rd party and the 3rd party ends up pawning the item, not knowing it was stolen. Even this is fairly rare. If we had a dozen items put on hold by the police in any of our shops in a given year, that would have been a high number.
Given that pawn shops may have to forfeit items taken in that are determined to be lost or stolen, it is not in the shop's favor to receive stolen goods. Knowingly and willingly taking in stolen goods is a crime that can result in prison time as well as loss of the business (which would include losses of the pawn license for making loans and loss of their FFL).
Aside from the police checks (which now are usually filed via computer upload), pawn shops dealing in guns are also audited yearly by the ATFE and in several states such as Texas where I am, are regulated and a loaning institution like a bank and are audited by the state's bank regulating agency.
Since the story is from Atlanda, here is Jerry's Pawn. They note from the National Pawnbrokers Association that less than 1/2 of 1% of their items turn out to be stolen. That number isn't actually the number of items, but the pawn value, as I recall, but illustrates how low it is.
You are more likely to be able to purchase a stolen item via a garage sale, newspaper ad, Craigs List, etc. than you are to get one from a pawn shop.