Re: Can Police Force the Return of Stolen Property
If your friend moved out and took your TV, it might be considered a civil matter. You may have bought it with your credit card, but maybe he says that he agreed to pay the utilities that month. A lot depends on who says what, and it may come down to a matter for civil restitution from the ex-roommate.
And, even if it were stolen, the police cannot generally simply require the pawnbroker to turn it back over to a victim. There's a process we have to go through to seize the items and it often takes a judge to decide who gets what, and very often someone has to pay the pawn shop. (I'm giving the Reader's Digest version of the law here ... it can be a little more complex at times).
Did the person receiving the cash KNOW it was stolen property?
Now, here's the thing. My roommate didn't steal my television. She stole $1300 in cash that I had withdrawn earlier that day to pay the upcoming rent and other assorted bills. I have the receipts from the bank and there's no question that it was my money. She then gave it to an acquaintance of hers (it's iffy if she gave it to him for something, or to settle an old debt). However, it wasn't her money. It was mine. The police have a warrant out for her, but for some reason they're not bothering to return the stolen property (ie. my money) from the recipient. How is this right/fair????? I want my money back, and this guy got it straight from the thief who took it. How is that not possession of stolen property?!?!?!?!
Can you identify the cash by serial number? Seizing cash is not as easy as you make it out to be. There is a process that must be adhered to in order to avoid violating the rights of someone else. The police cannot deprive this guy of money without due process. Now, if he voluntarily coughs up the cash, great. But, if he spent it, it's going to be an issue for a court to decide if you sue him.
Yes, it might be possible that the recipient could be required to turn it over, but the police will have no legal right to dive into the guy's pockets to retrieve the money or invade his home searching for cash.
Now, you are free to sue the ex roommate and the recipient if you want. Ultimately, if convicted, the ex roommate will be required to pay you restitution.
A Nor Cal Police Sergeant
"Make mine a double mocha ...
... and a croissant!"
Walk humbly with your God
-- Courageous, by Casting Crowns