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  1. #1

    Default Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Kansas

    I am a musician and play shows with a lot of other bands. About 5-6 years ago, I hosted a show with several bands and when I got home, I discovered that a significant piece of recording equipment had been loaded into my car by mistake (a lot of concerts attendees were helping tear down and load). I contacted everyone I had contact information for, but no one stepped up as the owner. I know I was not able to contact every band/musician at the concert.

    I have held onto the equipment since then, thinking that eventually the owner would certainly come forward. Since that has not happened, I am now considering selling the equipment as I do not use it. From what I understand, the statute of limitations on any theft will have run, but if I sell it, am I committing a new crime? If the pawn shop runs the serial numbers and it comes back stolen, will I be vulnerable? Likewise, if I sell to an individual and that individual sells to a pawn shop that runs the serial numbers, can I be hurt?

    I don't even think I can prove my due dilligence in trying to return this to the owner. My correspondence was all via phone and a band email address which no longer exists. This sort of thing happens pretty often with minor things- microphones, guitar stands, etc, so I didn't think to document everything.

    In case it matters, the recorder's value at the time would have been approximately $4-500. Today, its value is about $150 as it is somewhat outdated technology.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    The statute of limitations may have run for being charged with theft, but you could still be charged with possession, today and even another 5 or 6 years from now. The recording device serial number is recorded in NCIC, the only way it gets out of NCIC's system if the issuing agency were to take it out. And the only way they will do that is if the device was recovered.

    When you first discovered that you had the equipment that didn't belong to you, you should have reported it to the venue. I'm sure the owner reported to the venue that he was missing it, this would have put you and the owner in contact with each other.

    But right now you are in possession of a stolen item, if it were reported stolen.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    You could also have turned it over to your local sheriff's office as found/recovered property - ensuring that you were absolved from liability.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    you should have contacted the entity that did know all of the bands. While you claim you were hosting the event, obviously you were not in charge of much as far as scheduling, payments, whatever.

    barring that, aardvarc gave you what you should have done had you not been able to contact the owner.


    so, since you still have not located the owner, what you do is call the police and turn it over to them as lost or abandoned property; exactly what you should have done years ago.

    You have not fulfilled the legal requirements to be able to claim the property and as such, have a right to sell it so that would simply not be a wise move.

    The title of your thread is quite telling though. If the property was accidentally placed in your vehicle, it wasn't stolen yet you are the one that says something about selling possible stolen property. Really makes me wonder about the truth of how you actually acquired the property.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    If he were to give it to the police the police would have run the serial number to see if it were reported stolen at the venue and if it wasn't then they would have contacted the manufacture and gave the SN to them, in return the warranty card on file with the manufacture would have the owners contact information. And you can still contact the manufacture and give them the SN and see if that info is still on file.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    If for some reason law enforcement isn't able to contact/locate an owner (they'll have their own process for doing so which may include but not be limited to publication, such as local newspaper), failure of THAT process can open the door for you to apply to become the owner. Finders/keepers only applies AFTER there has been a documented good faith effort by law enforcement, as a neutral third party, to contact the rightful owner.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    Quote Quoting jk
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    you should have contacted the entity that did know all of the bands. While you claim you were hosting the event, obviously you were not in charge of much as far as scheduling, payments, whatever.
    I contacted the venue and sent emails to the bands via myspace, etc. There were a lot of people buzzing around, and I asked the bands to forward the information to everyone they knew at the concert. This was a collective effort and while we were the "host" band (providing the majority of the equipment), only one band was a direct contact of mine. They contacted a third band, and a fourth contacted me through email asking if they could get on the bill. The venue didn't want anything to do with the equipment since they only provided a place to perform (a local VFW). Nobody got paid as it was a free show.

    I have not left the area and still perform quite a bit with a lot of the same people, but the band email address has been closed for quite some time.
    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    The title of your thread is quite telling though. If the property was accidentally placed in your vehicle, it wasn't stolen yet you are the one that says something about selling possible stolen property. Really makes me wonder about the truth of how you actually acquired the property.
    Now that's not fair. I was lamenting this piece of property sitting in my house and my wife suggested that it might have been reported as stolen. Why on earth would I come here at all if I did not worry about unintentional legal ramifications?
    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    If he were to give it to the police the police would have run the serial number to see if it were reported stolen at the venue and if it wasn't then they would have contacted the manufacture and gave the SN to them, in return the warranty card on file with the manufacture would have the owners contact information. And you can still contact the manufacture and give them the SN and see if that info is still on file.
    This is a wise course of action. I will check with the manufacturer to see if they have any information. If I do take it to the police, will they give it back to me if nobody has reported it, or will they hold onto it and eventually auction it off themselves?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    GuitarAllan81;435632]I contacted the venue and sent emails to the bands via myspace, etc. There were a lot of people buzzing around, and I asked the bands to forward the information to everyone they knew at the concert. This was a collective effort and while we were the "host" band (providing the majority of the equipment), only one band was a direct contact of mine. They contacted a third band, and a fourth contacted me through email asking if they could get on the bill. The venue didn't want anything to do with the equipment since they only provided a place to perform (a local VFW). Nobody got paid as it was a free show.
    so, you admit you were not "in charge" of anything and as such, did not have a complete listing of all the bands in attendance. Your failure to act properly does not make keeping the equipment ok. I understand you did what you thought was proper and adequate but, think of it this way: if you had left equipment there, would you be satisfied with your actions in an attempt to return it to the rightful owner? I know I wouldn't be satisfied with your actions.



    Now that's not fair. I was lamenting this piece of property sitting in my house and my wife suggested that it might have been reported as stolen. Why on earth would I come here at all if I did not worry about unintentional legal ramifications?
    You are the one that suggested it was stolen, not me. Obviously, if it happened as you said, there was no stolen property even if the true owner thought that might be the case. I would never speak of property in my possession that I know was not stolen as stolen property. Why would I? I know it isn't stolen.

    If I do take it to the police, will they give it back to me if nobody has reported it, or will they hold onto it and eventually auction it off themselves?
    maybe, maybe not. In our state, it most likely would get put into the state auction and sold on their website. Only way to know is to ask them.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    so, you admit you were not "in charge" of anything and as such, did not have a complete listing of all the bands in attendance. Your failure to act properly does not make keeping the equipment ok. I understand you did what you thought was proper and adequate but, think of it this way: if you had left equipment there, would you be satisfied with your actions in an attempt to return it to the rightful owner? I know I wouldn't be satisfied with your actions.
    I did contact each band, several times in the case where bands did not reply. I did not have a full listing of each individual in attendance, however, which is why I asked each band to contact their friends. I have no idea who the console belonged to. At first, I thought it might have belonged to the venue since we provided almost all of the PA system. I contacted them first, and they said it wasn't theirs.

    I think I did a reasonable job of trying to contact the bands. I left my contact information with the venue, both my phone number (which has not changed) and the email address (which remained open for over a year after the concert). I tried to contact bands which did not reply several times over the next year. I even left a standing message on my band's website until the website was shut down over a year later.

    I went upstairs and looked at the console last night- the bottom has been pretty scratched up and beat up, and the serial number sticker has been halfway destroyed. I know it didn't happen when I had it (it sat on the shelf since I brought it home), which means if I had brought it to the police, the rightful owner would not have been able to prove ownership- even if they had registered the serial number. Heck, the other bands were all from out of town- the fourth band was on tour from somewhere out west. Unless they caught the missing gear immediately, they wouldn't even know which police department to contact. At least by holding onto it, the owner would have a fair chance at getting it back.
    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    You are the one that suggested it was stolen, not me. Obviously, if it happened as you said, there was no stolen property even if the true owner thought that might be the case. I would never speak of property in my possession that I know was not stolen as stolen property. Why would I? I know it isn't stolen.
    Exactly why I said "MAY" be stolen. I figure if it has been reported as stolen, then it is stolen. Is this not accurate? Does it matter if someone put it in my car because it looked like my other equipment? If the police saw it, wouldn't they still consider it stolen property? If the true owner thought it was stolen and reported it, what else would make it "stolen"?

    I'm not concerned with my own actions, because I know my intentions and the situation. My only concern was with the legal side of things, where the police might view the property as stolen.
    Quote Quoting jk
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    maybe, maybe not. In our state, it most likely would get put into the state auction and sold on their website. Only way to know is to ask them.
    Hmm. Well at least it would get it off my shelf. Since I can't give the serial number to the manufacturer, this may be the only option.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Reselling Items Which May Be Stolen

    having an item with a serial number scratched out in your possession is not a good thing. I would deep-six this thing before I brought it to a police station.

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