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View Diary: Congfronted burglar today, any advice? (44 comments)

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  •  seek a lawyer's advice (14+ / 0-)

    The first visit with any lawyer is free. You might visit several, to see which one you like -- and pick up some good advice along the way.

    E.g., what would it take to get a restraining order on both the individuals (or more), to stay away from you, your wife and your house?

    Document whatever you can, about what was stolen -- as much detail as possible. Make a list, and keep adding to it.

    Ask police where items like yours might be 'fenced' -- in Seattle? Tacoma? Renton? Tukwila? Bremerton? If there are heirlooms, notify pawn shops etc. that you will buy them back. (If it's things you don't care about, notify the pawn shops that they've been stolen -- some will help you bust the guys, others won't.)

    If you have neighbors within eyesight who you trust, confide in them and ask them to keep an eye out for any strangers.

    Install motion-sensor lights all around the house -- some up high (gables, trees), or if down low then covered with a thick mesh screen so the bulbs can't be quickly unscrewed. (The cheapest ones at Home Depot or Lowes are only $15 for the sensor and two spotlight sockets. Use long-lasting fluorescent bulbs.  For e.g. a tree in your driveway without power, there's a solar-panel one for $80, pricey, and you might use LED bulbs which are also pricey -- but one in your driveway might be worth it.)

    You can buy CCTV cameras pretty cheap on eBay, but they can be a nuisance to set up. You can also buy dummy fake cameras (w/ glowing red LED), cheap and easy.

    Ask the lawyer if you can/should initiate a civil suit against the burglars, to at least cover the cost of re-securing your property (and possibly emotional damages).

    Depending on your circumstances, you could look into renting out a room, so someone is there when you're away. (A big life change, obviously, just brainstorming.)

    This sounds very upsetting, indeed. Courage!

    •  Telling pawn shops you'll buy your stuff back ... (12+ / 0-)

      isn't the way to go.  If stolen items are seen at a pawn shop, the police will retrieve them ... but they'll probably keep them in the evidence room until the case is disposed of.  Also, any items recovered should be reported to the insurance company to avoid being caught up in a fraud case.

      I wouldn't waste the time thinking about suing the defendants.  If they had assets worth winning, would they be out conducting burglaries?  And no lawyer would take a case of this type on contingency, so the plaintiff would be out-of-pocket for attorney's fees and court costs, too.

      At least the value of the items stolen is tax deductible, if it exceeds as certain AGI.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 01:52:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You seem like a very well-meaning person (9+ / 0-)

      who has never lived in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan.

      You don't institute a civil suit against the asshole who climbed up your fire escape, broke his way through the window, and stupidly dropped his driver's license in your apartment.

      (Really happened to a friend of mine.)

      No: you call the cops, give 'em the perp's driver's license, and hope they find your stuff before said perp sells it to his fence.

      Then you clean the fingerprint powder off of everything, vent to a well-meaning friend, and get better gates installed on your windows.

      ESPECIALLY the fire escape window.

      And you hope the burglar gets put away for enough years to learn a real trade and go straight.

      As if!  But one does wish for it...

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:00:02 AM PDT

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      •  BTW there are some great security gates (6+ / 0-)

        out there which can block access but still give you ingress.  I would suggest welded steel window gates and have a dual system of interior and exterior gates since all you are trying to do is slow down the burglar and frustrate him.  Also be careful how you install the gates so their attachment hardware is not readily accessible.

        I would also set up "nanny cams" at any point of ingress such as doors and windows.  Multiple cams camouflaged as  ordinary household items can record the burglars.

        BTW also up your home and/or renters' insurance and make sure they cover such things.  Also take pics of all valuables and keep them offsite along with appraisals of their value

        •  Usually my landlord (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Forester15, CitizenOfEarth, G2geek, Lujane

          already had the gates installed, but when I bought them, they were the best.

          I never, in twenty years, got my apartment broken into.

          But, as noted, a friend of mine did, and he freaked out.

          And yes, the perp really DID drop his driver's license.


          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:18:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is why I advocate using a dual gated (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, ColoTim, Lujane

            system of an internal and external gate.  Even if he frustrates one gate, the burglar is faced with yet another one.  Usually he gives up and seeks a softer target.  In and out quickly is the burglar's mantra

          •  Just out of curiosity, how'd he do that? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Lujane, Youffraita
            the perp really DID drop his driver's license.
            That seems really bizarre----was he leaving his business card and his license fell out? Ive heard of it happening---but definitely the Bozo award of the year (Absolutely NO offense meant to Bozo-Americans)

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:56:47 AM PDT

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            •  We never figured it out. (0+ / 0-)

              Best guess, he was putting something in (or out) of the same pocket his license was in.

              But, no, no freakin' clue how the thief managed to prove who he was in the course of the burglary.

              To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

              by Youffraita on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:53:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  You seem like a very well-meaning person (0+ / 0-)

        who has never lived in the San Juan or Puget Sound Islands, WA.

        The idea of installing window gates on a house in Orcas Island is funny. :-) Thanks for the laugh.

        These islands are usually a neighborly, peaceful, tranquil, trusting community.

        I didn't live in Hells Kitchen, but I did live on: Tompkin Sq Park in the 1980s (before it gentrified), 10th St & Ave A, Park Slope (as it gentrified), upper west & east sides. There, iron gates are de rigeur.

        I have no idea of the circumstances -- e.g., are the thieves the delinquent sons of a wealthy neighbor? -- but a lawyer or DA can advise on the pros and cons of a civil suit.

        Fingerprint powder? *laugh* Funny. :-) They caught the guys, red-handed.

        Yeah, agreed that jail is not likely to educate them much.

      •  wow, your friend's place got fingerprinted? (0+ / 0-)

        around here, if you're lucky, the police will take a written report via phone & your phone number, and you'll never hear from or see them again! chasin' those brown suckahs & them drug dealers is SO much more important!

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:22:06 PM PDT

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    •  I would suggest talking to the DA about (6+ / 0-)

      prosecuting  the one who was caught to make an example of him.  Many DAs are receptive if it is a case where lots of cases might be solved all at once.

      As far as the loot goes, it is probably gone.  We had a wedding band which was in the family for more than 100 years stolen last year and we never recovered it despite a $1000 reward

      •  Talking to the DA is damn good advice. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, ColoTim, Lujane, Sharon Wraight

        After Orcas has a chance to calm down, hold his wife, talk it out with friends, Putting up security gates or that shit, especially if the neighbors have none, yells "stuff here". Don't tell me it means the bad guys won't be able to get in, don't even start with that. A wife makes a fine hostage to get any door open.

        (Most of this for everyone BUT the commentor. It's the only way I can post.)

        My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

        by CuriousBoston on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:02:17 AM PDT

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    •  The first visit with every lawyer is not free (5+ / 0-)

      You have to ask. Many lawyers do this, but not all.

    •  First lawyer consult not necessarily free. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The first visit to discuss a malpractice or 'ambulance chaser' lawsuit is almost always free, because there's always a shot at a huge payday for the lawyer so they'll generally take the first vist 'on spec'.

      But if you're asking for specific legal advice, you should expect to pay for it.

      Instead I would advise speaking with 1) the prosecutor's office that will be handling the case and 2)the local crime victims' board. These are free services.

      Most states have some kind of crime victims' board that will walk you through what to do and what not to do, how to deal with the sense of violation, and any compensation your locality may provide. And it's all free.

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