My brother came home from work last Wednesday to find his home had been burglarized. They attempted to enter thru the back porch, but could not get thru the sliding glass door, so they decided to go thru the bedroom window. My brother came home to find the window broken open with the air running full blast and the house full of mosquitoes. When he realized he had been burgled, he called the police and took stock of what was missing. They had amazingly left a lot of good stuff, but obviously were grabbing what they could sell quickly...the mark of a tweaking druggie. They took one of his pillow cases to put his cameras and other small items into, took his laptop but left the desktop PC, and took his guitar.
He is insured, but the only thing that held any sentimental attachment was the Stratocaster.
Now my brother is very anal about keeping records. I sometimes made fun of him for that, but it paid off this time as each item that was stolen had an empty box being stored for it...and while the police were there, my brother produced serial numbers for every item, much to the amazement of the sheriff. The sheriff put everything in the computer and by Saturday, the guitar showed up at a local pawn shop. Again, this was great news as this was the only thing that he really did not want to replace with insurance money.
He went in and the pawn shop informed him that because they paid out on it, they now owned it. They had taken the proper info on the pawner, and the pawner turned out to be a career criminal, and had already been arrested for something else over the weekend and was in custody. My brother really wanted the guitar back, so the pawn shop actually sold him his guitar back for the $150 they paid the druggie for it. He could have gone thru legal channels to demand them to return it, according to this Florida statute:
F.S. 539.001(15) discusses "Claims against purchased goods or pledged goods held by pawnbrokers." Specifically, to obtain possession of purchased or pledged goods held by a pawnbroker which a claimant claims to be misappropriated, the claimant must notify the pawnbroker by certified mail, return receipt requested, or in person evidenced by signed receipt, of the claimant's claim to the purchased or pledged goods. The notice must contain a complete and accurate description of the purchased or pledged goods and must be accompanied by a legible copy of the applicable law enforcement agency's report on the misappropriation of such property. If the claimant and the pawnbroker do not resolve the matter within 10 days after the pawnbroker's receipt of the notice, the claimant may petition the court to order the return of the property, naming the pawnbroker as a defendant, and must serve the pawnbroker with a copy of the petition.
It was easier to pay for the guitar again and claim the payment on the insurance, but what a load of crap! Suppose he had no documentation, or serial number? For that he was lucky. While he was at the pawn shop with a city cop and a sheriff, there were SOOOO many customers coming to the door and turning around without coming in, out of fear. The pawn shop manager then asked them to hurry and complete their transaction as they were losing business because the police were there!!
Absolutely amazing! I did a lot of research on pawn shops since then and found they claim a moral high ground, but there actions belie their words, and the laws are written to protect their ability to fence stolen goods. Only those citizens who are anal record keepers have any hope of seeing their merchandise, and have to face a legal fight to get their goods returned.
Just a heads up to you all.
The guitar was pawned just hours after the burglary, and the timeline shows it was a broad daylight burglary. On a humorous note, when they took the pillow case, they removed the tag from the pillow which said not to remove under penalty of law, and left the tag on the night stand. I guess you have to giggle about that.