Craigslist-Savvy Mom Turns Tables on Crook

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mscriv, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #1
    LINK

    Neat story. Glad it worked out for the family. If you click on the link some of the comments are quite interesting as in people defending the person trying to sell the computer. Let's see what our community thinks about it.
     
  2. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #2
    There's no question it was an honest mistake, and luckily it was recovered, but how does one just forget a specialized, $10,000 laptop?

    I mean, I always do a pat check before I go anywhere- wallet, watch, keys and phone and none of those items even approach the $10,000 range, except maybe the iPhone w/contract...:p.
     
  3. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #3
    It can happen. I’ve put my notebook bag on my hood before and forgot about it until it came rolling down my front windshield. :eek:
     
  4. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #4
    I think it's a bit of a stretch to defend the person with "if it was at the curb, it must have been trash... right?" argument. Come on, a little common sense. If you saw a $100 bill sitting by the curb, would you assume that someone must have decided it was garbage? What about a kids' bicycle?

    Whenever I see something "at the curb" that I want to take, I ask myself if it's reasonable to assume that it was left out for the taking. Old furniture, an old TV -- sure. A kid's bike -- probably not, I'd assume some kid left it there when they went inside. A specialized computer in good working condition -- likely not! If I was going to take it, I'd ring the doorbell and ask. "That's trash, right? Can I take it?"

    There are honest mistakes, sure, but there are also rationalizations that you can use to convince yourself that you're doing something OK ("oh, he must have meant for me to take it if he left it by the curb.")
     
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #5
    I'm sorry, but I don't know what a DynaVox is. Judging from photos, it looks like it could be trash, even when new. If it was sitting "at the curb" as stated in the story, it's not unreasonable to think it's trash. It's also not unreasonable to think that the machine may be worth, at most, $200 new. It's not nice looking. It's expensive because of its function, not because it looks like a $10,000 machine.
     
  6. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #6
    If he had put it on Craigslist for $100 you could probably assume he was thinking along the same lines as you. Listing it at $3500 suggests he had a fair idea of it's true value.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #7
    Maybe he looked it up after he found it.

    I don't know. I work in the medical field, and I've never heard of a DynaVox. No, I don't work in mental health, or anything related to disabilities, but surely I'm not the only person who would need to Bing *cough* the word "DynaVox" and look for images, what it did, and its retail value.

    Besides that, it wouldn't be unusual that someone threw out something of value. My housemate and I found a plasma TV sitting on a curbside in front of an apartment building, along with an amp and speakers, and the TV worked. No, we didn't understand it either, but it was rubbish pick-up day, and it was sitting near other trash. However, a TV is a lot more commonplace than a weird looking laptop, so I assume that someone picked it up because it was a laptop, not because they actually knew it was worth $10,000 (brand new).
     
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #8
    Well, here again, common sense prevails. You had several clues that the stuff was likely trash, despite the perceived value of the items. First, there were multiple items (TV, amp, speakers). Second, those are large and heavy items, and very difficult to accidentally leave someplace or forget about. If those items were out at the curb, then someone moved them there for a reason. It was also garbage pick-up day. I think there'd be very little doubt as to the intention of moving all that stuff out there on that day.

    A single, small, portable, item left at the curb on a day other than garbage day, with no sign on it saying "free", I would think should garner at least a moment's thought: "Is this supposed to be here?" (Particularly an item intended for a child -- though I grant that you wouldn't know it in this case). I personally wouldn't take it until at least making an effort to confirm.
     
  9. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    FL
    #9
    Not to defend the guy but to play devil's advocate:

    1) Would there be as much outrage against the guy if it wasn't a device for a special-needs child?
    2) Did he try to locate the owner (not sure if he did or not)?
    3) As he didn't steal the device, returning it to the owner should make it right. Not sure if criminal charges are warranted.
     
  10. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #10
    It really depends on where he found it. If it's in the front yard of a home, then it's safe to assume it's not trash. If it was forgotten nearer the curb then most people think it's finders keepers.

    Anything is public domain once it hits the curb, unless there's a for sale sign on it or the municipality forbids collecting stuff by the curb (some do). I've found some nice stuff on the curb at times.

    In this case, it's the mother leaving by the curb is just plain stupid. In any other circumstance, (eg, not a disabled child) I don't think anything would have done.

    That said, the quote does say the guy was picked up for "unrelated outstanding warrants"..
     
  11. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    London, ON
    #11
    In law school they teach "it depends." Who knows what really happened because everything is circumstantial.
     
  12. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #12
    From http://www.answers.com/topic/personal-property : "Personal property is considered to be lost if the owner has involuntarily parted with it and is ignorant of its location. Mislaid property is that which an owner intentionally places somewhere with the idea that he will eventually be able to find it again but subsequently forgets where it has been placed. Abandoned property is that to which the owner has intentionally relinquished all rights."

    The mother accidentally left the item on the curb. She knew where it was. According to the definition above, it was not lost (she was not ignorant of the location), not mislaid (same reason) and not abandoned. This looks very much like theft to me - the guy took the item to deprive the rightful owner.
     
  13. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #13
    Just a note - WOW this is my home town right here... good ol' capitol flea market. I am glad the mother got i back.
     
  14. Antares macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #14
    My first thought was also, "it's on the curb, it's trash." We have proper alleys in this city. So, we don't put trash on the curb. However, in places that do, I have seen tv's, couches, computers, etc. on curbs, presumably to be picked up by the garbage men. We have scavengers in this city who make their living driving around in their rusty pickups, going through alleys to pick up anything of value that people throw away. In places that don't have alleys, I'm sure they pick up anything placed on the curb.

    The guy who took the computer was in the right. Assuming this happened in a place where trash is kept at the curb, if a computer or some other junk was left there, it's fair game. After all, nobody would leave something of value, that they're intending to keep, at the curb. If a garbage truck came by, that computer would likely have been picked up as trash. This lady left the computer at the curb. It would be a different story if it was kept on the lawn or sidewalk.

    I'm glad she found the computer and got it back. However, the computer was not stolen.
     
  15. MacVixen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    #15
    Yes, and the as the article says, she had been visiting her brother for the holidays and was loading up the car when she left it behind. I've certainly done very very similar things :eek:

    Is this situation any different from those that "forget" their iPhone someplace and then scream bloody murder when the police, AT&T and Apple don't help get it back from the "thief" that is now trying to resell or reactivate the phone?
     
  16. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #16
    Yup. Lost but not stolen.

    The function of the same device has been replicated with iPod touch and some app. Total cost, few hundred. Works even better actually.
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #17
    "Personal property is considered to be lost if the owner has involuntarily parted with it and is ignorant of its location." So explain how it was _lost_ when she knew exactly where the item was?
     
  18. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #18
    I think some of the arguments being presented here are silly. Let me ask this question, if you accidentally leave something somewhere; what is the first thing you do when you realize it's been lost? You go back to where you left it to search and if possible ask if it has been turned in as lost. Why do you ask if it's been turned in to "lost and found"? Because deep down you hope that people have the decency not to take something that doesn't belong to them just because it was there for the taking. Is there anything wrong with picking something up from the curb, believing it to be trash, no. But, being a responsible member of a community and a person of principle/conscious means you take measures to ensure that the owner of the item is indeed making it available for the taking.
     
  19. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #19
    Right on the mark.

    I once dropped a then expensive programmable calculator on a city bus without realizing it. What did I do? I contacted the bus company. I put an ad in the Lost and Found section of the paper, and was allowed to post one at the bus stop.

    I also consulted law enforcement. I was told that finding an item and not turning it in was considered theft. If the value of the item is over a certain amount, they said it is a felony to keep it. If it's not yours, it doesn't matter where you find it. If there's no sign on it saying "Free" then you have to ask around until you find the owner, then ask if the item is wanted.

    ....
    Oh, yeah, I got the calculator back. I asked an officer to check at a store on the bus route to see if anyone had ordered just a manual for that model. He did. He went to talk to the person who ordered the manual. Two days later, the calculator was returned to me.
     
  20. Aeolius macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    #20
    Supply and demand. Because fewer people use such devices and the devices require significant R&D, the price tends to be higher. My son's power wheelchair, covered by insurance, would have cost $40,000.
     
  21. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #21
    Thank you good sir. :)
     
  22. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #22
    There's no comments?

    EDIT: Oh there they are. Took a while to load.

    I've left expensive stuff behind by mistake. Once left a nearly new Nokia 9110 Communicator in the toilets of a club. :eek: This was some time ago, when they were the first and only smartphone around.

    It's up to chance whether you will ever get it back or not. Ehh. I suppose if I ever found a Dynavox on the kerb, I'd realise pretty quick it was an item of disability equipment. I'm not sure how I would know that it was mislaid, and not some sort of surplus equipment that was no longer needed.

    I've seen quite a few computers chucked out round here - usually Pentium I, PII, and a PIII once. Got a working PII laptop project upstairs with a cracked screen that was thrown in a skip.

    I suppose if it looked nice and was clearly expensive and in good condition, I'd knock on the nearest door to check. I've done that a few times - seen nice items in or near peoples yards and knocked to ask if they were genuinely chucking it out. Got some nice solid wood bookcases out of it.
     
  23. speedriff macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #23
    Checklist

    Here is the checklist you follow:

    1. Did you buy it?
    2. Is there a sign that says, "Take please"?

    If you answered no to those questions then it isn't yours to take. It is stealing, plain and simple. The people on here trying to justify this are prime examples of what is wrong with our society today. I bet you think that just because you buy a CD you should be able to give your friends and everyone else a copy, right? Wrong. Stealing is stealing no matter how you dress it up.
     
  24. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #24
    Maybe in your area, but laws and customs are very different around the world. In Japan, people used to often leave out clean, working expensive items for disposal, to make room for the the new even more shiny thing in their small apartments. No 'Take please' signs on them.

    Now the boom times are over, dunno if they still do that...
     
  25. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #25
    Another part of the argument you are missing is the guy has a record so his credibility on saying he though it was trash is shot.

    Now if it was some one with no history of stolen goods or crimes then yeah the argument is valid that they might of though it was trash. I have seen some lucky scores from garbage before but it comes down to a lot of issues.

    The record means chances are he knew he was stealing and was trying to get an easy score.
     

Share This Page