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I started composing this before Laura Clawson's Rec Listed diary was posted about this story, and published briefly without knowing about it.  So I've unpublished it and rewritten it with only the commentary part rather than trying to serve as a purely informative diary.  Basically, a bank robbed a woman's house and changed the locks, found out it was the wrong house, refuses to pay her for the stuff they stole and sold, and the cops aren't doing shit.  Refer to that diary and its linked stories for more details.  Thoughts and reactions below.

According to the report, the addresses on both the legitimate target and the wrong house are clearly marked and visible.  But even if they weren't, confusion does not give a bank carte blanche to enter any property they please and rob it, let alone to then haggle with the victims over giving back what they stole.  This is a sickening example of the extent to which we have two sets of laws in America, one for normal people and a totally separate set for those acting under the power of a rich corporation.  Criminal charges against the latter are very unlikely unless the victim is also rich and/or corporate.

Try to imagine a scenario where an individual acted like this: Your neighbor down the street owes you money and agreed that if they didn't pay you by a certain time, you could come over and get some items from their house.  You accidentally go to the wrong house, despite the address of both houses being clearly marked, break in, clean the place out, fence the stolen goods, replace the locks on it, and then when the cops learn it was you - nothing happens to you.  You are not arrested.  You are not charged with anything.  As far as we know, there isn't even a criminal investigation into you once they know it's you who did it.  The police do not search your premises or affiliates' premises for the stolen goods.  

What's more, you refuse to give back either the stolen property or the proceeds from its sale to the victims, or even to give them something to tide them over while you work it out - you just bury yourself in lawyers and say they don't get shit until they agree to renounce all claims beyond whatever is agreed upon.  And meanwhile, you still maintain that the original target owes you the things they agreed upon.

Now try to imagine the reverse happening: Imagine that this Ohio family breaks into the bank that burglarized them and retakes the proceeds gotten from the sale of their stolen property.  You better fucking believe they would be charged with a laundry list of felonies and probably spend years in prison, possibly with federal charges just to turn the knife.  They would be arrested in an armed raid with machine-gun-wielding quasi-terrorist SWAT squads breaking down their door, all of their finances and assets seized pending investigation, the state would demand denial of bail or bail in the millions, and then even beyond that they would spend every cent they have defending themselves.

The victims in the case have said they plan to file a lawsuit, but I think they should do more than that: I think they should demand criminal charges against the repo-men and the bank employees involved - burglary, theft, conspiracy, receiving stolen goods, to name a few.  This is a bank that needs to be made an example of.

Originally posted to Troubadour on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:11 PM PDT.

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