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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California

    I had left a very expensive article of clothing with great sentimental value as it was passed down from my grandmother, at a friend's house. Since, I ended up having to move a couple of times due to personal issues. He said he would hold onto it for me until I got settled in somewhere, but I ended up losing my car as well, making it hard for me to get over to his place to get it. He said he would hang it up in his closet and keep it until I could come retrieve it. However, a girl who is not a friend of mine but more of an aquaintance (definitely not someone to whom I would ever even consider loaning such a special item) came over to his house and saw this item and wanted desperately to wear it. My friend said no and said it was mine and very important to me. They argued for a while, the whole time she kept insisting that she would be really careful and bring it right back. He kept saying no, but then she ended up taking it and wearing it anyway because he is not the type of guy to physically remove it from her. Surprise, surprise, she never brought it back. He told me what happened and I have been trying to get it back for almost a year now. The only response I got from her was an email saying she didn't have it in her possession at the moment and would do her best to get it back, then she blocked me from being able to email her and won't return my calls. I have heard that she has been making money of consigning clothes or selling them on ebay. What can I do to get my item back if this is the case? The sentimental value tremedously outweighs the monetary value. This item originally retailed at over $20,000 and has a resale value of at least $5,000 as it was in near perfect condition. There was one damaged part, which I am hoping has not been further damaged or come unattached and lost. What can I do to try to get this back?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,890

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    You've waited a year? Then you can try filing a police report, but you're not likely to get any police action.

    You can sue the person who took the clothing in small claims court. You can try suing your friend, as well, for letting her take the item.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,823

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    Ok, I'm dying to know...what is this item of clothing?
    ~Christina

    Unless a source is cited, anything posted here by me is only my opinion, and is not meant as legal advice.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    The police aren't going to touch this with a 10 foot pole. The key words are "I left it" and "took a while to retrieve it". There's no theft by the original party; and that party allowed the second party to make use of the item. File a suit against the person in whose care you originally left the item. However, be aware that the court is going to look much more at the ACTUAL value of the item, as opposed to the SENTIMENTAL value of the item. (Judges love to say things like "if it was SO important to you, you'd have come back for it".)
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    I did not give it to a second party for use. They were storing it for me. She took it from their closet after they said no. Taking something that isn't yours is stealing, ergo the coat is stolen property.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    He allowed her to make off with the item, "because he is not the type of guy to physically remove it from her"; and, he didn't report her for the theft. The police are going to tell you to take it to civil court. Call them and attempt to file a report, but don't get your hopes up. Regardless of whether this goes the criminal route or the civil route, you have a max of 3 years for either to get the ball rolling under the statute of limitations.
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    Thank you for your answer. I am going to the police station today. Is it possible to sue her for the return of the item rather than the dollar amount? I would much rather have the item back, and I know she will never have that much money to give me. I am worried she may have sold it. I know if she sold it, the chanced of me getting it back are very slim, but can she get in trouble for selling stolen property? I know if you get caught selling stolen property on eBay they will press charges, but what about at a local consignment store. I am going to ask the police these questions too. Thank you for all your help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: How To Recover Stolen Property and Press Charges

    I believe that in California, you are limited to money damages only.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/smallclaims/

    You can check it out there.

    I have to tell you that yours is an extremely common small claims story: You left something with someone and it was of great value. Now it's gone.

    The judge will ask you why you didn't take more care in selecting a place to store this important item.

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