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  1. #1

    Default Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Washington,

    So I went to sell a car part today in which I advertised on craigslist.com, I also purchased the item on craigslist.com. I took 4 pictures of the item at different angles to give a clear description. As I'm waiting in the parking lot for the assumed buyer which had been texting me up until this point a man comes walking up to my car and asks "you have the part?" and almost at the exact same time a sheriff comes flying up with his red & blues on and glock drawn. He starts screaming and cussing me out of my car "down on the ground on my hands and knees" and my passenger likewise. He puts us in cuffs and Mirandizes (sp.?) us. then approaches my car and retrieves the part.

    According to the supposed buyer one of the sensors on the part were attached with two different colored screws (one gold and one dull), the number "50" wrote in perm. marker, and a dremel'd modification to it.

    There was no receipt to prove ownership, the guy just claimed that it was stolen from him sometime ago and the fact that the specifics I noted above weren't visible in the pictures was reason enough for the officer to take the part into evidence.

    So my question plain and simple, was this situation handled appropriately? the officer says once he catches the perp. and charges him with the theft I possibly will receive a victims reimbursement. Who's to say the guy admits when or if he's caught am I just assed out?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    Have you been charged with a crime? If so, do not talk to anyone until you have sought the advice of counsel.

    If the police have reason to believe that the property is stolen, they can seize it as evidence. You can, of course, cooperate with them and provide the information on the guy that sold it to you and that might help you out.

    As a general rule, we find a LOT of crooks on Craigslist. You couldn't pay me to buy something on Craigslist.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    You're stating that the person meeting with you as the buyer had made a police report that the item you were selling was his and had been stolen? And arranged for the police to arrive at the time and place you had scheduled for the sale? And before seeing the item had correctly informed the police that the item you were selling would be distinguishable from any standard item by virtue of his having installed "with two different colored screws (one gold and one dull), the number "50" wrote in perm. marker, and a dremel'd modification to it"? And sure enough, the screws and markings were as described?

    That sounds like good police work. I understand, though, why somebody who thought he had purchased the item legitimately would be upset by being detained at gunpoint while the police made sure that the scene was secure and he was unarmed.

    You bought the item on craigslist, so you should be able to provide the police with information about the ad, the seller's email address, the time and place you made the exchange, documentation of your payment, if you met the seller, what the seller looks like, etc., and ideally they'll locate this person. Lists publicly expire off of craigslist, but my assumption is that they archive everything.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    No i was not charged. I gave what little info I had which wasn't noted down, infact nothing was written down other than my id. The markings did indicate as he described. My main point which I had went over again and again with the officer is who's to say the guy didn't sell the part to someone and they sold it to me and he just decides he wants it back... or the plain fact the item in question has no serial number and the seller has no receipt, just seems like a little bs to me.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    Quote Quoting goldengloves
    View Post
    No i was not charged. I gave what little info I had which wasn't noted down, infact nothing was written down other than my id. The markings did indicate as he described. My main point which I had went over again and again with the officer is who's to say the guy didn't sell the part to someone and they sold it to me and he just decides he wants it back... or the plain fact the item in question has no serial number and the seller has no receipt, just seems like a little bs to me.
    You are free to sue him for the part ... good luck with that.

    There can be many "what if ..." scenarios, but unless you can prove one of them, the police have the part and you might consider yourself lucky you're not charged with a crime.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  6. #6

    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    How can i be charged is what I'm asking. The distinguishing markings are enough for one to claim ownership on an item? so for example a person can sell something with no serial/id number, report it stolen and successfully regain it through the law based upon visual factors? granted that's a crime in it's own.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    If Joe Smith calls the police and says "Goldengloves is trying to sell the autographed Mike Tyson mugshots that were stolen from my apartment," ideally you'll be able to document that you bought them from Joe Smith through his Craigslist ad, offer a canceled check or similar proof of payment in Joe Smith's name, and let Joe Smith deal with the mess he made through his false theft report.

    As you are not claiming that you bought the item from the person who later claimed legal ownership, that scenario doesn't seem relevant.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If Joe Smith calls the police and says "Goldengloves is trying to sell the autographed Mike Tyson mugshots that were stolen from my apartment," ideally you'll be able to document that you bought them from Joe Smith through his Craigslist ad, offer a canceled check or similar proof of payment in Joe Smith's name, and let Joe Smith deal with the mess he made through his false theft report.

    As you are not claiming that you bought the item from the person who later claimed legal ownership, that scenario doesn't seem relevant.
    True. In the end unless there was reason for me to doubt his credibility there's nothing I can do about it except hope they catch the guy.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    The police officer that handled the situation will forward his police report to a detective and that detective will investigate what happened.

    There is a trail for the detective to follow and when he finds out what happened an arrest will be made.

    Your saying that you think the guy sold the item and you bought it and he is claiming it was stolen and now wants it back. If that's the case the detective will contact the guy you bought it from and see were he got it. If he states he got it from the guy that claims it was stolen then the guy who claimed it was stolen will be arrested and you will be cleared.

    If the guy that you bought it from claims that he bought it from someone that he doesn't know and the trail stops there, then the guy you bought it from will be arrested and you will be cleared.

    If the guy that you claim that you bought it from can't be contacted and the trail stops at you, then you will be arrested for receiving stolen property.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Police Confiscation of Suspected Stolen Property

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    The police officer that handled the situation will forward his police report to a detective and that detective will investigate what happened.

    There is a trail for the detective to follow and when he finds out what happened an arrest will be made.

    Your saying that you think the guy sold the item and you bought it and he is claiming it was stolen and now wants it back. If that's the case the detective will contact the guy you bought it from and see were he got it. If he states he got it from the guy that claims it was stolen then the guy who claimed it was stolen will be arrested and you will be cleared.

    If the guy that you bought it from claims that he bought it from someone that he doesn't know and the trail stops there, then the guy you bought it from will be arrested and you will be cleared.

    If the guy that you claim that you bought it from can't be contacted and the trail stops at you, then you will be arrested for receiving stolen property.
    I was giving that as a possible scenario, that is not the case. The sheriff told me that detectives are no longer handling these crimes and that he solely will be carrying out the investigation and about how honest and thorough he is & will see the case to end blah blah blah. Seems odd being the supposed buyer and sheriff both told me they know where the guy they believe is responsible lives, know who he is, etc.

    As i said previously there was no report or anything. I made it clear it doesn't seem fair someone can claim they own something based only by description. Unless there was proof I stole it or legal proof (receipt) that the suspected buyer bought it, I don't see it justifiable by the officer to take it in as evidence. I also gave him the scenario of this case as if it were on trial, "a mismatched screw and the number 50 wrote on the item" I said "come on, yea right the jury's not having that at the end of the day" and the officer didn't respond he looked at his feet and after a few seconds pause I began asking again how he feels this is right.

    So based upon the fact the "dull screw" and "50" weren't visible on the ad, that's proof enough? who's to say I hadn't posted a prior ad showing the descriptive markings or the guy didn't tap into my photo bucket account and look at the other pictures? or what if the guy claiming it was stolen had worked the part in on some trade, debt, or as some sort of payment with the guy he "knows" broke into his house and now he wants it back.

    It also seems fishy that only one sheriff was assigned to the case. The suspected buyer's house was broken into so he said, I didn't know street cops followed out home invasion cases, solo none the less...

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