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Lost & Stolen Gear Stories: How did you get the gear back? Advice for the rest of us?

Discussion in 'Lost & Stolen Gear' started by Blackbird, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Possibly a dumb question: Graigs List???
  2. JoshB

    JoshB A great man is always willing to be little. -RWE

    check it out.... http://www.craigslist.com . It's another forum type site where you can post things for sale, jobs, etc. Most major cities have their own branch.
  3. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Ahhh, Thanks.
  4. godraphonic


    Jun 6, 2005
    10 years ago this month, I got a call from the guy who had the room down the hall from mine in a rehearsal studio. The wall of my room and the ajoining room had been kicked in, and most of the gear was gone.

    I ran down there, and sure enough, everything was gone except my 8x10 cab and the drummers kit.

    the losses included an ampeg V4b head, a fender pro 185 combo, a Gibson sonix guitar, a Fender MIJ Strat, and a bunch of effects pedals.

    the room next to ours had been vacent, and i had talked to the landlord about locking it, but he was basicly to lazy to carry a key to unlock it and show the room. I actualy had slapped a pad lock on it at one point, and he got pissed and cut it off and told me i would be paying rent on it if I did it again. I still hold him partly responsible for the loss of my gear. the hall wall was cinder block, between rooms was just drywall.

    I looked at where the wall was kicked in, saving a piece of dry wall with the thiefs foot print and shoe size, little feet he had, sneakers...

    I knew it was the young dirt bag who previously rented a different room down the hall. He had once shown me a vintage gibson accoustic which he had bragged about getting in a B&E, and how even though the victim knew he did it, the police where powerless since they didn't have the guitar, and "I know the law, unless your caught in the act, the worst the can get you for is recieving stolen goods, haha suckers, and i'm a minor blah blah blah." I should have strangled the ****er on the spot and brought that guitar to the police in his home town. that was my first mistake.

    after talking with every one who had been in the building that night, I knew that JASON FARINA of tiouge ave Coventry RI HAD been in the building that night, jamming with a drummer and another guitar player, a ROB HARINGTON, of WEST WARWICK RI.

    I made lists of all the missing gear, which i brought to every pawn shop and music store in the area. I also made a report with the Providence police dept. Then I began tracking down the theifs addresses and stalking there places of work. I found the drummer first, and eventually accepted his innocence, he was helpful in giving me info on tracking down FARINA and HARRINGTON.

    My second mistake was not grabbing and taking by force young FARINA the first time I confronted him, days later at his place of work. I should have forced him into the trunk of my car and brutaly tourtured him, taken the keys to his parents house, and retrieved my gear. I had been talked out of that by friends, saying I would be the one ending up in jail etc. He made wide eyed denials and tried to be buddy buddy, i could see the fear in his eyes. his boss ran out and kind of stopped me from doing more at the moment.

    The next day, still making the rounds of music stores I recovered the effects pedals at HYDE music, in Coventry. after handing the owner the list, he asked me to describe anything unique about one of the effects. I then asked him if a round headed bag of **** named Jason Farina had offered to sell any used gear. He sighed and pulled a box of them out from under the counter. The coventry police where called and made another worthless report. it included Farina as the one who delivered the effects to the store.

    Sometime later I also had tracked down Mr Harrington's place of work, and showed up there asking for him, one of the guys said he had left and asked if i was the one "who had the guitar" i told him yes and he gave me HARRINGTON's address. Rob somehow got tipped off and made himself scarce. I still want to beat his fat pimpled face in with a baseball bat.

    In the end, the Coventry police arrested Farina and he was charged with recieving stolen goods and slapped on the wrist. sometime AFTER this, they finaly got around to asking to look around in his parents house for the other gear, which of course was elsewhere by this point, and was never recovered. They dragged their feet so long it was literally weeks after I had told them the full story and recovered the effects, along with the statement from the owner of HYde music that FARINA was the one who turned them in for a small amount of cash.

    I still wish i had abducted this worthless **** bag and drove him hundres of miles into the country side, beat him with in an inch of his life, took his keys, and went into his house, his gf's etc, and recovered my stuff.

    If anyone reading this knows either of these two, tell them to watch their back because there day WILL come. and their loss will be way higher then any value of the gear they stole. They will pay with interest...

    The rest of you, If you ever catch a thief bragging on something he stole, beat his ass to a pulp, take the item, and have it delivered to the authorities by someone else. Never trust the authorities to be aggresive or interested enough to recover your gear, they don't give a ****, and the laws are written to protect the criminal and not the victim. Unlless they are caught in the act of the theft, they will only be charged with recieving stolen goods. Farina claimed he found the box of effects outside the building that night, and that was good enough for the judge.
    chupacerveza and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  5. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    I have not even read all the responses to this serious matter of having an instrument stolen. I suggest and highly recommend buying insurance for all your instruments and amps. I use a company called clarion. 253.00 (they added 3 dollars this year for the possibility of terrorism). Its worth the price. Its so worth the peace of mind.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  6. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    My good friend who lives in Houston recently (end of June) had the back door to his garage kicked in and all of his recording gear stolen. It turns out that the thief used the same method on many homes in the area.

    Now the good news! The police caught the dirtbag and recovered 95% of my friends stolen gear. :hyper: He picked it up last week from the Houston police locker. There was tons of other gear also there so if anyone has knowledge of someone who has recently had recording gear, jewelry, or money stolen from them by this method, have them contact the PD in Houston.
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  7. That was my thoughts when I read that post. Now that they past a law that you can shoot to kill if threaten and they do not have to be in your house in Flordia now I think this may make the crack heads think twice about stealing our gear.
  8. pernicious1


    Jun 12, 2005
    I have had equipment "permanently borrowed" and have not been able to find it. I checked the local pawn shops to no avail. I ran the problem by some cops at the local power ring (donut) shop and they told me something I had not considered.

    If a pawn shop takes in stolen property (whether known to them or not) and the police recover the property from them, they (the pawn shop) are out the money they paid out for it. This is why pawn shop owners/employees are blind and ignorant when someone comes in looking for something specific. Shop owners also have an unspoken "cooling off" period for items they might think are hot (stolen). During this period, they will keep the item in the back or off site, just in case the owner or the cops come in looking for it.

    If you have to check the pawn shops, go in as if you are browsing. Tell them what features you are looking for in your instrument and try to impress on them that you are ready to spend money now. If, by chance, you see your property, do not alert the shop employee to this. Keep your best poker face on and call the local cops as soon as you leave the shop. Stay nearby so you can keep an eye on foot traffic in and out of the shop. You should be able to get your property back when the cops show up and you can identify your stuff. It helps to have a report of the theft already completed. Make sure you have the report number with you, or a copy of the report.

    Remember, pawn shop owners & employees are there to make money... not give away stuff they have paid for, stolen or not. These are not usually upstanding folks... they know they type of folks they do business with and are willing to take the risk. Be careful and don't let the pawn shop rip your gear off a second time.
    sludgetail and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  9. ...Just wanted to let ya's know that MY custom made Spector bass HAS RETURNED TO ME!!!!

    I found it on EBAY on monday, march 22. EXACTLY 1 year to the day, that it was stolen! I immediately compared the pictures on Ebay with the pictures that I had from previous gigs, and sure enough, it was MY bass. So I called Mike XXXXX, the manager from Samash that designed the bass with Stewart Spector, from the Spector Bass Company, and he had a look at it, called Stewart, and confirmed that it was, without a doubt, my bass. Instead of calling authorities right away, I made up a fake ebay name, and emailed the seller on ebay. I posed as a female looking to purchase it outside of ebay for my husbands anniversary, and I told him I was from Florida. I asked him to send his name, address, and phone number, so that I could send payment to him ASAP because time was running out. He not only sent everything I asked, but also sent his student ID# and student email address. He was a student at Stanford University, in California! By now it was 1230 at night, so I decided to wait til tuesday morning to call the Stanford police. First thing tuesday, I called the Stanford police, and Spoke with a detective there that was REALLY helpful. I filed a report, faxed over every piece of info that I had on the bass that linked it to me as the rightful owner, I gave him the police report # from philly that I originally had from the previous year, and I emailed him pictures of me and the bass during a few of our gigs. He called me a half an hour later and said, " Dominic, I gathering a few guys and we're going over to his dorm room now!" I didn't hear back from him for a few hours. In the meantime, the stanford kid emailed me(thinking I was a girl from florida) and said that he couldn't sell the bass to me any longer because he had just found out it was stolen, and that he was sorry. Then I checked the Ebay auction, and he had ended that auction early! Finally, the detective from California called me around 430ish, and he said that the kid was selling it for a friend over here in Edison, NJ, but he COULD NOT give me the name or phone # of the kid from jersey. He then handed everything over to Philly police. So, I was on the phone with philly police all night tuesday, and they deliberately gave the case to a detective who wouldn't even be in the office till thursday night! And they also said that, by the time they get warrants and everything, it's probably going to be a good while..weeks even..if at all! So, I new the element of surprise was GONE! This stanford kid probably told his buddy by now that the police were at his place looking for the bass. I figured the bass would be gone by now, that they would have hidden it by now. I wasn't going to wait for philly police to handle this, because I KNEW nothing was going to be done, and even if they did do something, it would be to late. I NEEDED to get the Edison kids info somehow...my plan was to call this stanford kid myself, act like a detective from philly, and try to get him to give me his Edison, NJ friends' name address and number. I had had ALL the stanford kids info, address etc...but he didn't know it! He thought he had given it to some girl from florida, he knew nothing about me! So about 630pm tuesday, I called the Stanford kid in California, but instead of pretending to be a detective, I was straight up with him. I told him my first name, and that I was the rightful owner of the bass. I told him the police gave me his phone number. He started apologizing right away, and told me that he didn't know it was stolen, that they got it from a bum in Hoboken, NJ for $20 in front of a liquor store! lol I said, "listen, I really don't care where you got it from, all I want is to get it back in one piece. I'm willing to drop all the charges, as long as I get it back." He was really scared, the police over there scared him good! He could have been expelled for selling stolen property. He said that I would definately get it back, that he grew up with his friend and that he would MAKE him give it back! lol Anyway, he gave me his friend in Edison,NJ's name and phone number with no problem, he then called his friend to explain that I was gonna call him and get the bass. He asked me to call the Edison kid in 10-15 minutes. I called the kid in Edison, talked to him,..told him that I wouldn't press charges as long as I get it back. He actually was apologizing to me also..lol I told him that I could be up there, in Edison, by 10pm..He gave me his address with no problem. He did, however, ask that I don't meet at his house because he felt uncomfortable with me going there. I think he didn't want his family to know about the whole situation, he was kinda nervous on the phone too. Anyway, I drove up there with a friend that night, met him at a gas station around the corner from his house. He pulled up to my car, but couldn't see inside because of the tinted windows, so he didn't get out til I did..LOL He then got out of his car and handed it over to me. He apologized about 5 times, he wouldn't look at me, and he was really nervous. He looked like a dorky chubby Indian kid with glasses, a typical Indian college engineering or doctor type..lol I checked everything out right there. The bass is EXACTLY how I left it! Not a single scratch, ding, or dent. Everything was in the gig bag too! My silver cord, tuner, and earplugs. I smelled the inside of the bag and it smelled a little mildewy. I think he had this thing sitting in his house, stored away for an entire year! My friend had a good idea, he told me to offer him $20 for the $20 that he spent on it from the bum.lol Right before he drove off, I offered him $20 and he practically jumped away from it. Oh yeah, he was reluctant to shake my hand too. I know, just by his reactions, that he was the one who took it, but I promised them that I wouldn't do anything as long as I got it back, so I didn't. As he drove off, we noted his plate number on his car for safe keeping. ;-)

    I called the philly police back today, to keep them from getting a warrant and kicking this kids door in, but the detective working on the case still isn't in, and won't be til tomorrow..lol I Love Philly! So, exactly 1 year and 1 day since it was stolen, I got it back! Oh yeah, that kid in Stanford still has no idea that I was "Sandy", the girl from Florida that he was emailing back and forth, and giving me ALL of his personal info..LMAO
    gaelicsolus and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  10. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Now THAT........is a beautiful thing.:)
  11. Thats awesome, congrats on the awesome detective work... maybe that might be a good line of work for ya! ;)
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  12. jeff_bass28

    jeff_bass28 Guest

    Mar 21, 2006
    Dominc's Gear Recovery Agency!
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  13. A good tip that the older players at a gig gave me was to get a UV marker and write your name and something (doesn't matter since you just have to know what it says) with it on the back of all of your gear.
    gaelicsolus likes this.
  14. ineedpizza420


    Aug 18, 2006
    Amherst, MA
    I had my american J-bass stolen at a festi we were playing in Vermont. We were done with our set and walking back to the trailer with our gear and met what seemed like a good group of people. They were kind of out there but we figured they were just the typical festi people. We brought them to our trailer (bad idea). We loaded our gear and they invited us to their camp (it was a 3 day camp out) as they had some "merchandise" that we wanted to check out. On the walk to their spot which was quite far because band trailers are separate from the fans camp area two of them said they were going to a friends camp for whatever and we didn't think much of it. We got to their camp, scored and used and watched some other bands. They left around 1 am we met them at 9 and they were with us the whole time. Me and our drummer were beat so we went back to goto sleep. When we got to our trailer the back window was smashed out with a rock and we were missing my bass and two guitars, a PA, a couple mics and other non-gear items. All our heavy stuff was still around (drums, amps, cabs). Anyway this story has a very happy ending. We called the guitarists and singer and told them to go back to the sketchy hippy tent and see what was going on but not to let them know we knew yet. They went there and said that the two that walked off before were there and they sat and had a few drinks and noticed they were acting differently so we had an idea it was them. The guitarists went a ways over to a group that was just sitting around now probably about 3 am. They told them what we thought was going on and asked if they could hang out to see if the two men would go back to their tent so they could follow them. Sure enough about half the group (including the two that walked off) start walking away and the guitarists followed and called us. They said they were watching from a distance and the group went to their camp put some crap in there van and he saw our PA among other equipment that wasn't ours in the back. Then they went to bed in their tent. So we wait a little bit and meet them near the tent. The drummer being the smallest of us smashes out the side window of the van (with the same rock) and unlocks the door and goes in back and opens the doors. Meanwhile they are waking up and we (me, and 2 guitarists) are getting ready to smash them if they want any. I went to help grab our ****. and they start coming out of the tent. I grab my bass as this is happening and the guitarists start callin for us 3 on 2 them so i take my bass and hit one across the chest (and the j-basses way ALOT for a bass). It knocked him flat on his back. By this time people were up breaking it up and security was on the way. We told security the deal and they gave us our stuff. Turns out there was other stuff already reported stolen to security that was in thier van. In retrospect we should have had security help from the get go but we were furious and young. My bass survived unscathed although i bet it wasn't very good for the neck. The guy who got the bass to the chest was brought to the medical tent :) serves him right. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it cracked a few ribs if not his breastbone. I would say to people deal with security first because they could have had guns or other weapons. We were young and stupid.
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  15. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Pawn shops should be taking the information (& verifying it) of the persons that they buy stuff from. If they don't, they are not covering themselves and are doing a disservice to those who buy from them. They should be on the lookout for stolen items and should make the seller's sign contracts/agreements so they can be persued if anything goes wrong. Anyone selling should have a receipt to prove they are the rightful owner. I give and ask for reciepts for second hand equipment.
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  16. Rattlehead


    Dec 28, 2006
    I agree. I also think that the police SHOULD reimburse pawn shops IF the pawn shop can give them enough information to convict the person that sold it to the pawn shop. Hell they should even give them a reward for doing it. This way there is at least an incentive for pawn shops report stolen equipment, instead of hiding it and avoiding people who are asking it they've seen their stolen gear.
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  17. BillytheBassist


    Aug 18, 2005
    These things work well if you have an idea on who might have taken your items. While i was living in Dallas, i was rehearsing with a few bands in a large studio building that rented studios minthly. One of the bands that i practiced with was a regular "stop in" for some of the other "musicians". I started missing a bunch of small items like monster cables, mogami cables, a tuner. I even noticed that i was missing my tool kit. So i replaced all those items and bought a UV pen along with the new gear. I started intentionally leaving marked stuff sitting out and had a pretty solid idea who was taking the stuff. Sure enough! On the same night that said theif was over at our studio i had two cables come up missing. A few days later the drummer said he was going over to said theifs studio to smoke. So i decided to join them. Right away i spotted my tool kit and then shortly after i saw some monster cables hangin on the door. I made some remarks about monster cables and so forth. He tried to change the subject. So i just couldnt keep my cool. I just pulled out the little UV light and there was my name and address all lit up. I took em off the door and put them right in his face and asked him if he got a good deal on these cables! He had a really stupid look on his face. I pretty much lost it yelled in his face... threw some metal folding chairs into his cd player and took it upon myself to grab the toolkit even though it wasnt marked "i knew it was mine". I left before i completely ended the guy, went straight down to the office and reported him as a thief.... so anyways. Long story about the practical uses of a UV pen.
    gaelicsolus and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  18. Hey! what a GREAT story that was! So kool it was like reading fiction. CONGRATS on keeping your wits and your temper! Job well-done. Offering the thief the $20 was priceless! You have a good heart apparently, even thou the guy did deserve to get his door kicked in.

    The disturbing part of this whole thing is the very slack and lackluster response from the police. Sorry about that.
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  19. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Police recently recovered my '98 Fender American Deluxe Fat Strat. Here's a tip: Put a business card (or name & phone # on a piece of paper, if you don't have a card) underneath the pickgaurd, in the neck heel, under the fretboard overhang, etc... just somewhere on the bass. That way, if you find it in a pawn shop, you don't need any papers, just say, "I put my business card under the pickgaurd in case it was ever stolen. Open it up and check." It's not permanent, like a UV marker, and you don't need any special equipment to check it like a UV light or a scanner (for Snagg chips).

    +1 for insurance, by the way.

    gaelicsolus and sludgetail like this.
  20. meltedmuffin


    Mar 31, 2007
    I've had the same bass stolen twice, first time the guy broke into my flat and took it, London police actually helped in retrieving it second time was three years later in devon with a bunch of mates and some ****head decided to nick it and set it on fire, I hope they died from plastic fumes is all i can say.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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