Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I got back from morning church on Sunday, ate lunch, and was cleaning up a bit in my back workarea when I noticed a tv was missing. It was just stored back there, but it was a nice 32" combo player tv. Then, I look over, and my chopsaw was gone. I had just used it late last night installing some trim. Great, just great. At first I thought I was crazy, and that I had put them somewhere else, since I had other tools laying out right next to the chopsaw. My Milwaukee circular saw was still sitting there, cordless drill, etc. Surely, if I was robbed, they would have taken those... Nope, praise the Lord, that's all they took.

Oh well, won't miss the tv (don't watch it anyway), but my chopsaw sure is handy. Filed a report, yada yada.

Moral of the story:
1) Have the serial, make and model of all your tools and electronics. The officer who filed the report was very glad I had it (as was I). Unfortunately, I had just cataloged the numbers for my electronics, and had not gotten around to the tools, yet, so I just had one of the two. I think a little digging in files might yield up the other one. It was kinda comforting knowing that I had the numbers. It was also one of the preppy-high moments, when you pat yourself on the back. "Yep, I knew this would come in handy."

2) Have all of your outside workareas and tool sheds on lock and key. My backshed is not at all conspicuous, and we are out in a very rural area. Apparently, they just drove up and scoped out what they could grab in two minutes and leave. If I had just locked up the area, and closed doors, the outcome might have been different.

3) Vary your routine. Unfortunately, going to church gets predictable. Always try to have a vehicle in the driveway. This Sunday, we had taken both vehicles, so the driveway was empty - on a Sunday morning. Target. Have lights on timers, have the radio playing, etc.

4) Know thy neighbors. I do not know, know my neighbors, but I chat occasionally with our closest ones, and we kinda keep an eye out for each others property. I went over and asked him if he had seen anything. (PS. My neighbor works at the sheriff's office.) Didn't see anything. They apparently were at the grocery store for part of the time. About the first thing he brought up was how he was planning on putting in a camera system at his place since crime was going up due to the economy. I chimed in how it will probably get worse, too.

5) Motion detectors, cameras, etc. Have something that can watch your place when you cannot. Don't get a camera system that can record to your computer. If they steal your computer (or vcr), it doesn't do you much good. Get one that can record in a hidden,secure area, or uploads the images to a website.

5) Get out of your comfort zone. Always be aware of your surroundings. Just because you are at home, does not mean you cannot be a victim.

6) Be a burglar for a day. Scope your place out and see what you could grab and go. Check locks, entryways, etc. See how vulnerable you are.

All, in all, this was a good wake-up-call for me. I am getting into the regular habit of locking up, critiquing my routine, and checking out home security methods. Be on your guard before the flag goes up. We all know that the economy is getting worse, and that people will get more and more desperate - start living like it now, it aint go'in to be gettin better.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,275 Posts
so sorry, Hobbes! I know about the Sunday morning thing, hubby is the preacher and everybody knows where we are. We were burglarized two years ago, now and then we still find out something is missing, (tool belt full of tools, tool box, etc.) I know it makes you remember "lay not up for yourselves treasure on earth,.... where thieves break through and steal....." Good reminders- you're right, we get into routines. I think I would add to the list, get an outside dog.
 

·
Big Front Porch advocate
Joined
·
44,851 Posts
I'm glad it's not more stuff gone, and that no one was hurt. (I know, no one at home, but still)

And thank you for sharing what you've learned, so some will not have to learn it the hard way.

Angie
 

·
Animal Addict
Joined
·
12,209 Posts
I am sorry anything got taken, but grateful it was a TV and not your other stuff. Wonder if they got spooked before taking anything else?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
Years ago when I was working as a law enforcement officer I recovered a rifle that had been stolen from someone in the very same town 20 years earlier! We returned the rifle to the original owner's widow.

Most stolen property gets entered into a nation-wide system provided you have a serial number. If an officer ever runs the number for some reason, it will come back as stolen and can be returned to its rightful owner.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
516 Posts
Years ago when I was working as a law enforcement officer I recovered a rifle that had been stolen from someone in the very same town 20 years earlier! We returned the rifle to the original owner's widow.

Most stolen property gets entered into a nation-wide system provided you have a serial number. If an officer ever runs the number for some reason, it will come back as stolen and can be returned to its rightful owner.
got to call BS on this no cop returns guns they keep them or destroy them return them 20 years later sorry got to call you on this BS if it's true post something that proves your story
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
Whodunit, in your time the cops may have been honest, but now I'm afraid that the majority of them have the agenda of getting guns off the street, regardless of how that gun ended up in their hands.

In my lifetime I've known dozens of people who have had guns stolen and I've yet to meet one who ever had a gun recovered and brought to them.

Check out this article:

http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/...ortal/portalContentItemAction.do&context=dept

It states that every year the city of Chicago seizes and destroys from 10,000 to 20,000 illegal guns.

Keep in mind that every illegal gun started out as a legal one. When that revolver rolled off the line at Smith and Wesson it was a legal one. Somewhere along the line it was stolen, someone lost some paperwork, or it was sold to someone who can't legally own one.

Do you think the city of Chicago spent any time tracing back the serial numbers of those guns it confiscated in street crime to return that gun to its legal owner in, say for example, Texas? Or Kentucky? Or do you think they just threw it on the pile and called the mayor's office to say, "add one more for the press release!"?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
Why I feel the need to protect my honor I don't know, but I found a link to the newspaper article.

Unfortunately, the article mentions me by name and I'd rather not disclose that on the open forum.

I trust Ernie enough to forward him the link via PM for verification, if he is interested and agrees not to "out" my name.

What say you, Ernie?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
While I am waiting for Ernie's response...

Some of what Ernie posted may be true in larger agencies, but in the one's I worked, we made an effort to return the firearm to its rightful owner.

Many things can delay or prevent this from happening. They range from the firearm being evidence in a case to the original owner not being able to lawfully possess a firearm due their criminal history.

I was very involved in the process of returning firearms out of the evidence room of an agency in a very large state. Most of the firearms I personally returned (or made a serious attempt to) had been in the room for years (way prior to me being involved).

The reasons the firearms were still there ranged from sloppy police work to owners not giving a darn to the agency not being able to locate the owner (who don't always follow the law and change their addresses with DMV).

There are specific laws regarding firearms, at least in the large state I worked.

For instance, we could not seize (keep from its owner) or destroy a firearm without a court order to do so. We also couldn't release one to an owner without a letter from the state DOJ verifying they were allowed to possess one.

I think you'll find that most cops from sergeants on down are very pro-gun rights. It's when they start promoting and getting into the political realm that they change their tune.

There are still some honest cops out there and it's probably the reason why some of them (like me) have a difficult time getting hired.

I apologize to the OP for the thread drift.

My original point was that recording your serial numbers is a worthwhile effort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
You got it, Whodunit. Awaiting the link.

As to your points, I'll concede that what happens in Chicago doesn't necessarily happen in Freestone County, Texas (where I grew up). It probably varies wildly from pro-gun states to weak gun states. I remember my father and I back in the 70's would go fishing with the county sheriff. I will barely talk to law enforcement these days. Not that I hold something against them personally, but too much power has been put into their hands and I don't trust them. Some are good folk, but the bad ones have an enormous ability to screw you over royally, even if you are a law-abiding citizen.

I realized that I do not have some of my newer acquisitions serial numbers written down. I'm going to go correct that right now. I had a lot of gun's stolen from me about 3 years ago and it burns me up to think that some meth-head probably has my grandfather's shotgun. I'd like to do at least do everything in my power to make sure my possessions find their way back to me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
You got it, Whodunit. Awaiting the link.

As to your points, I'll concede that what happens in Chicago doesn't necessarily happen in Freestone County, Texas (where I grew up). It probably varies wildly from pro-gun states to weak gun states. I remember my father and I back in the 70's would go fishing with the county sheriff. I will barely talk to law enforcement these days. Not that I hold something against them personally, but too much power has been put into their hands and I don't trust them. Some are good folk, but the bad ones have an enormous ability to screw you over royally, even if you are a law-abiding citizen.

I realized that I do not have some of my newer acquisitions serial numbers written down. I'm going to go correct that right now. I had a lot of gun's stolen from me about 3 years ago and it burns me up to think that some meth-head probably has my grandfather's shotgun. I'd like to do at least do everything in my power to make sure my possessions find their way back to me.
On the way...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
The link doesn't seem to work; probably because it's an archived story.

I'll PM the link to the main web site and you can do an archive search with the title I send you.

Sorry for the extra steps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
Got it. So here's the summary, sans name.

A police officer (our friend) saw a gun in the car during a routine traffic stop and ran the serial number through one of the government's system. The gun turned out to have been stolen previously (12 years prior) and the gun was returned to the widow. A good deed done by an honest cop.

I notice though that the article was over 7 years old. What do you think the policies are these days outside of the township where you were employed (which is in a gun-friendly state)? Still the same? Or maybe now they hold the gun 6 weeks to see if anyone shows up to claim it before it gets destroyed or auctioned off?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
Ernie, I addressed some of what you asked about above.

This all applies to the "big state" where I once worked:

LE officers had the right to take for safekeeping any and all firearms lawfully within their ability to do so, during a domestic violence incident. This means all the guns that were in plain sight, or with the permission of the owner, any not in plain sight (this could be either spouse in this community property state). There are fairly strict laws about how or if LE could keep them and how soon they had to return them.

My understanding was that any firearm used in the commission of a crime never had to be returned to the owner if that person was the one who committed the crime. Again, a court order would be needed to deny them their gun.

Any gun that fell into the hands of LE for ANY reason (evidence, stolen property, found property, etc.) could only be returned to its owner after they completed the state required process I mentioned above.

In many cases I dealt with I'll admit there had probably been a less-than-honest effort made by the LE officer to walk a citizen through the process.

In those cases the citizen also never bothered to exert their rights and there is nothing (other than Miranda) that says an LE officer has to explain all your rights in this area.

I didn't play those games when I was in charge of getting people's property back to them. I didn't care if it was a nickel or a gun. If it was someone else's property and there was nothing legally prohibiting them from having it, I made every effort to gte in touch with them.

My advice is if you ever have anything stolen and you have a serial number, is to report it to your local LE agency and then follow-up later to make sure they entered it into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). If anything you should easily be able to get a copy of the report and it should indicate whether or not this was done. If in doubt, ask. The police are as lazy as anyone else and busy, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Well, I got back from morning church on Sunday, ate lunch, and was cleaning up a bit in my back workarea when I noticed a tv was missing. It was just stored back there, but it was a nice 32" combo player tv. Then, I look over, and my chopsaw was gone. I had just used it late last night installing some trim. Great, just great. At first I thought I was crazy, and that I had put them somewhere else, since I had other tools laying out right next to the chopsaw. My Milwaukee circular saw was still sitting there, cordless drill, etc. Surely, if I was robbed, they would have taken those... Nope, praise the Lord, that's all they took.

Oh well, won't miss the tv (don't watch it anyway), but my chopsaw sure is handy. Filed a report, yada yada.

Moral of the story:
1) Have the serial, make and model of all your tools and electronics. The officer who filed the report was very glad I had it (as was I). Unfortunately, I had just cataloged the numbers for my electronics, and had not gotten around to the tools, yet, so I just had one of the two. I think a little digging in files might yield up the other one. It was kinda comforting knowing that I had the numbers. It was also one of the preppy-high moments, when you pat yourself on the back. "Yep, I knew this would come in handy."

2) Have all of your outside workareas and tool sheds on lock and key. My backshed is not at all conspicuous, and we are out in a very rural area. Apparently, they just drove up and scoped out what they could grab in two minutes and leave. If I had just locked up the area, and closed doors, the outcome might have been different.

3) Vary your routine. Unfortunately, going to church gets predictable. Always try to have a vehicle in the driveway. This Sunday, we had taken both vehicles, so the driveway was empty - on a Sunday morning. Target. Have lights on timers, have the radio playing, etc.

4) Know thy neighbors. I do not know, know my neighbors, but I chat occasionally with our closest ones, and we kinda keep an eye out for each others property. I went over and asked him if he had seen anything. (PS. My neighbor works at the sheriff's office.) Didn't see anything. They apparently were at the grocery store for part of the time. About the first thing he brought up was how he was planning on putting in a camera system at his place since crime was going up due to the economy. I chimed in how it will probably get worse, too.

5) Motion detectors, cameras, etc. Have something that can watch your place when you cannot. Don't get a camera system that can record to your computer. If they steal your computer (or vcr), it doesn't do you much good. Get one that can record in a hidden,secure area, or uploads the images to a website.

5) Get out of your comfort zone. Always be aware of your surroundings. Just because you are at home, does not mean you cannot be a victim.

6) Be a burglar for a day. Scope your place out and see what you could grab and go. Check locks, entryways, etc. See how vulnerable you are.

All, in all, this was a good wake-up-call for me. I am getting into the regular habit of locking up, critiquing my routine, and checking out home security methods. Be on your guard before the flag goes up. We all know that the economy is getting worse, and that people will get more and more desperate - start living like it now, it aint go'in to be gettin better.

Just curious, how did the thief break in? Was a door jimmied, or busted open?


.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
Interestingly enough, I got a call from my father today. Synchronicity at work!

I had some guns left at his house when we moved up to Illinois, figuring to come back and get them at a later date when I got the legal crap straight for gun ownership up here in the People's Republic of Illinois. While the guns were in his house, some meth-head broke in and stole everything. My grandfather's pistols, shotguns, rifles, and the rifle my father carried in Korea.

I figured they were lost forever since we didn't have the serial numbers recorded but here about 4 years later a friend of my father's told him that he spotted a gun just like the one he'd brought on a hunting trip they'd both been on ... the gun was in a pawnshop in Wichita Falls. My father immediately hopped in the car and made the drive, about 5 hours, and sure enough it's his gun. Right down to his name on the stock. Wichita Falls police wouldn't help, even though the gun had been described on the police report including special markings. The pawnshop owner wasn't very compassionate about it either, but was willing to part with it for $950 bucks. So my father has his rifle back.

Maybe there is a special karma to the world where all your lost possessions find their way back to you somehow. Just in case there isn't though, I guess we should follow Whodunit's advice and get those serial numbers recorded.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,333 Posts
You know they're probably coming back for more...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
Interestingly enough, I got a call from my father today. Synchronicity at work!

I had some guns left at his house when we moved up to Illinois, figuring to come back and get them at a later date when I got the legal crap straight for gun ownership up here in the People's Republic of Illinois. While the guns were in his house, some meth-head broke in and stole everything. My grandfather's pistols, shotguns, rifles, and the rifle my father carried in Korea.

I figured they were lost forever since we didn't have the serial numbers recorded but here about 4 years later a friend of my father's told him that he spotted a gun just like the one he'd brought on a hunting trip they'd both been on ... the gun was in a pawnshop in Wichita Falls. My father immediately hopped in the car and made the drive, about 5 hours, and sure enough it's his gun. Right down to his name on the stock. Wichita Falls police wouldn't help, even though the gun had been described on the police report including special markings. The pawnshop owner wasn't very compassionate about it either, but was willing to part with it for $950 bucks. So my father has his rifle back.

Maybe there is a special karma to the world where all your lost possessions find their way back to you somehow. Just in case there isn't though, I guess we should follow Whodunit's advice and get those serial numbers recorded.
That's a toughie! I've seized stolen property based only on markings and descriptions before, but the theft was very fresh.

Not that your father would do such a thing, but I guess an argument could also be made that your father sold the gun, reported it stolen (documented by a police report) and then tracked it down and attempted to claim it again.

In our town, the local pawnshop pays by check, which required they see the seller's identification. If the item is later reported stolen, we would then have an identified suspect and a witness that saw them in possesion of the stolen property.

If you feel like pushing a bit, you might ask the pawnshop if they have a record of who sold the gun to them and put the local police in touch with the agency who handled the original stolen report. I'm sure Illinois (or the local authority) has some laws about reporting the purchase of guns (and any property really) so it can be checked against theft reports.

The big problem is proving ownership. Without registration (which I don't like), there is no definite proof of ownership outside of receipts.

Another option would be a civil suit against the pawnshop owner, since civil cases have a lower standard of proof. Although some might consider the shop an innocent victim, if they didn't by-pass any of the rules during the transaction.

In his case, your father would bring witnesses that testify that they know he owns the gun (you might even have photos of him with it), that he later reported it stolen (as documented by the police report), that he tracked it down to the pawnshop and they bought it from a person who lives in your town and has a criminal history (most likely involving theft) or tyhey didn't follow the rules when they bought it and might have determined that it had been stolen from him.

If you were a judge in a civil small claims case, how would you rule after hearing the above information?

All in all, he has the gun back. The price was worth it to get back something with that kind of sentimental value.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
He probably has a good case and might could get his money back, but it's a long drive, he's in poor health, and ... well ... there's a reason I am the way I am about law enforcement. I get it from my father. He's not likely to go put himself on the radar like that. His criminal history may be equal to or worse than the schmuck who stole the gun in the first place.

He already found out who the guy was who stole it, either from interrogating the pawnshop owner, or from someone else. I've learned not to ask for too many details. Turns out the thief is in jail right now on some other charges from stealing from someone else. That guy is probably best off right where he is ... where my father can't reach him. He hasn't mellowed much with age, or his fast approaching meeting with God.

Not that he's a bad man, by any means. I love and respect my father. But he's a generation closer than I am to those Scottish riverboat thieves who came down the Mississippi and followed the German migrations out into Texas. They lived a life that made the Hatfields and McCoy's look like the model of Christian forgiveness. To see them operate, even amongst blood kin, you would have thought "vendetta" was a Scotch-Cherokee word. They still tell the story of how my grandmother went after the Kerr County Sheriff with a knife (at age 86!) when he came to ask her if she might know what had happened to a neighbor's chickens.

Maybe there's a reason I now live up in Illinois after all. :)
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top