Camera stolen, NOT hopeless, need advice!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Techhie, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #1
    Ok, I'm just going to lay the story out right from the beginning, because I truly need some advice here. (sorry for the long post)

    Basically, I buy and sell things on craigslist for a small profit margin, in addition to have the privilege of using some nice things while before I sell them. I view things like this as a good investment, and people would be surprised what kind of deals show up (ex. the $1,500 '09 Mac Pro I'm typing on). Of course, doing this kind of "business" also comes with its disadvantages:

    I am into photography, and I found myself buying a Canon Rebel XSi at a good price about a month ago. IT wasn't long until I set up a great deal basically to sell the XSi and then immediately buy a Canon 40D (both people were to meet me at the same place to do a "swap" if you will). I met these two African American boys who looked to be in their late teens and at first was suspicious, but that was all forgotten once we started talking in photography jargon. The other guy with the 40D shows up, and while I am talking with him, the two guys take the XSi and run. I chased them for about 3 blocks until they jumped a huge fence, and then I called the cops. Filed a police report, was told the situation was basically hopeless, blah blah.

    The point is, the kids were stupid enough to give me their real phone number, which after a google search when I returned home revealed that they had used it on many craigslist ads for (obviously) stolen items such as multiple sets of furniture, rolexes, and 70" TVs. The phone number also was tied to both of their myspace accounts, with which I found out addresses, real names, and that the main kid is running a makeshift photography "business" (hence why he actually knew about cameras)

    I printed all of this out, included the original transcript of the email conversation between us (the plaintext version with IPs), and turned all of it in to the local police dept. under my case file. Problem is, the investigator talked to me about three weeks ago saying it was promising and telling me he would go to the kids high school and talk to him, but now he hasn't called me back and won't return my phone calls.

    You can understand why this is frustrating, there is nothing stopping me from going to the kids house and confronting him. Can you guys offer me any advice that doesn't deal with me wading through a sea of red tape? I just want my camera back before the kid sells it.

    Thanks for the patience of reading all of that :rolleyes:
     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #2
    If you think the kids were under 18, and have traced the camera to their parents home ... filing a lawsuit against their parents is always an option.

    The parents allowing a criminal enterprise to happen in their house isn't a winner on their end. Though you can and probably will get death threats.
     
  3. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #3
    Wouldn't filing a lawsuit be more expensive than just buying a new DSLR?
     
  4. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Nassau, Bahamas
    #4
    Of course, but it depends whether you want to just stand back and allow them to continue their criminal lifestyle.

    Sorry, let me get off my hypocritical soapbox.

    It depends what you value more. If you merely want to replace your stolen equipment, then just buy a new camera and chalk it up to a learning experience.

    If you feel personally wronged on many levels than you can sue the parents / the kids themselves and try to recoup not only your loss, but other damages as well.
     
  5. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #5
    Do you know how much something like this would cost? I don't know much about law, but I've seen a couple Judge Judy episodes =)
     
  6. sl1200mk2 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    #6
    If you're not easily intimidated, I'd simply go to the house and knock on the door at a time when you know it's likely the parents or whatever adults are home. Worst that happens is that you're told to go away and you're in the same position you are now. Best case, you actually deal with decent people who have delinquents for kids and you get your camera back. Obviously, be sensible and check the place out first. Bringing a friend isn't a bad idea.

    Good luck -
     
  7. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #7
    Already considered this, but the simple fact that I found craigslist ads under his name for items like Rolexes makes me think this isn't the first crime he's committed. That, and the pics of him with "gangsters" on his myspace profile :p
     
  8. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #8
    Go to the parents. They may be unaware of what's going on, and you just happen to be the first person able to make a difference.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    No, because you can add the cost of the suit and your time to the cost of the camera. The kids parents can have wages garnished and assets sold. You can add time off work, mileage, postage and most expenses to the claim

    The problem is that lawers want to take cases where some real money is involved. A few hundred bucks is not worth their time. So you will have to go to small claims court. It's not hard to do and you can bet the kids or their parents will not even show up. They likely will ignore the default judgement you get and then yo will need to file more paperwork and jump through more hops but you can force them to pay eventually, that is if they have a job

    Try pestering the police. Tell them about the Rolexes and so on. Make the case bigger and they might be more motivated. The trouble is that in some cities if you call the cops about a shooting they ask "is anyone dead?" and it not they just take a report over the phone. Attempted murder take time any from their work on speed traps and illegal u-turns.
     
  10. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #10
    Do you have to have a lawyer for small claims court? I'm just trying to get this resolved in the easiest way possible, and without getting shot by a gang :rolleyes:
     
  11. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    #11
    Why not give the police that information so that they can follow up on it? If you have good information they will act on it. You still may not get the camera back, but at least it won't happen to someone else.
     
  12. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #12
    Um no. Worst that can happen is the parents listen to your story then give you a beat down or even shoot you.
     
  13. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #13
    I already said that I printed out a 50 page report of all the info I have about him and gave it to the police. I think I may sue him in small claims court for around $1,500 for the camera and damages. The only problem is, after looking through my folder I have on him (the I gave the originals to the police, and made a copy for myself) I don't have his address.

    Is there a way I can get it? I have basically every other piece of info on him, including his high school.
     
  14. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #14
    Thats what I want to avoid :D

    Hopefully small claims court will help me without revealing my address.

    That said, can anyone tell me how I can get his address? It's required to file the claim.
     
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #15
    If he was past high school you'd be able to go to school and get them kicked out due to their violation of the schools morals code.

    With high school and public funds, they'd like congratulate him.

    In college with the money likely coming from a criminal enterprise, colleges have been burned in the past when victims went to them asking for their money back.
     
  16. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #16
    Since I'm not 18 (until next October) I have talked my mom into filing a suit against him in small claims court. All I need is his address to write him a formal letter demanding payment before I file. Can anyone help with that?

    On a side note, I googled his phone number again, with interesting results. Yesterday, he posted an ad wanting to buy a Verizon touchscreen phone. Today, he posts an ad for a Blackberry Tour which he "can no longer use" because he "switched networks". Conveniently, he also doesn't have the box or charger because of a "mail in rebate" :rolleyes:
     
  17. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    #17

    Umm.. Well, if you gave the police the real number and it is in fact a real number (highly doubt it) then the detective will check into it. That would be an easy case to close, so I don't see why they wouldn't follow up on it.

    That being said, you will have to prove that they actually took it and you would have to find the kids names and serve their parents.
     
  18. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    #18
    nuke their house:D


    If I were you, I'd contact police and if they were helping, I'd go to their home and beat the crap out of them ;)

    Seriously, go to their house and if they don't give the camera back then file the lawsuit...

    I am wondering why the police isn't taking any action...:confused:
     
  19. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #19
    You could imagine the police have more important business than an $800 theft in Las Vegas ;)
     
  20. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #20
    But, he also gave them info on a theft ring.

    Right now they are doing snatch and grabs of electronics, and with the pictures of the rest of the gang.

    They might decide to up the ante from snatch and grabs to robbing people of cash and cars, and possibly they may do it violently.

    So the $800 theft is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

    ---

    But the camera is gone, if you can track it you can get it easily from the person who it gets sold to. If you can find them.
     
  21. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    The hub of stupidity
    #21
    my initial thought as well, until I found out that he likes photography as a hobby. Seems like out of all the items he would steal, this might be one he would actually keep. Regardless, I should be able to win at least the worth of the camera in small claims court, plus some emotional damages. I was thinking around $1,200-$1,400 ($800 camera plus emotional)
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #22
    Police are very busy. If the investigator is not returning your calls, it's because of one of three reasons. 1. He's busy with another case. 2. He's on leave or detailed elsewhere. 3. You bugged him too often.

    It takes time to prepare a criminal case. He may be waiting on the results of subpoenas to phone companies, craigslist, whichever ISP the perps are using... They also may have stolen enough stuff that there's months of tracing who it was all sold to and tracking down the original owners. While an investigation is ongoing the police aren't going to comment on its status, even to victims.

    You can file a civil case in small claims court yourself. There are books on how to do it, and there's probably some good Google searches too. However,
    I'd give it three or four more weeks, then see if you can get a status from the person working the case.

    Generally small-claims court judges aren't going to award emotional damages due to theft. If you had a trip comming up, and you had to get a camera to cover it, that might be possible to get as a part of the damages, it depends a lot on the statutes in your jurisdiction.
     
  23. sl1200mk2 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    #23
    Possibility? Yes, of course, but so is an airplane failing on my head as I type this. I personally wouldn't worry about that if I brought a friend along. Like I said, take obvious precautions and check out the neighborhood first. I'm sure the OP has a feel for the area considering he lives somewhere nearby. If it's in a sketchy area, don't go -- simple. Sitting around to find out isn't going to get the camera back.

    If these were "gangstas" they would have pulled a gun on you right then and there and taken the other guys Canon as well. Fact they waited it out and ran says they are just opportunists who unfortunately played the OP.

    You've got to handle it how it feels right to you. My luck the OP gets shot dead on the front lawn. ;) I've had my house broken into while on vacation, found out who did it, a "friend" of a friend and that's how I handled it. Did the same thing the OP did at first, filed a report, they knew the kid because he had a record and did nothing about it. I was able to recover about 3/4 of what was stolen. Had I let the local police handle it I would have gotten zero.

    Best of luck however it's handled.
     
  24. zuma022 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    #24
    I'd leave it alone and move on. Granted I'm a girl, but you just never know these days. Who says these two teenagers act alone? Maybe the parents are involved, maybe the gangster pictures on myspace are real. I wouldn't take any chances. You reported it to the police, let them do their job.
     
  25. Rondue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    PA
    #25
    Why did you find it important to list the kids who had stolen your cameras ethnic background? :cool:
     

Share This Page