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Re: LONG STORY pawn shops + My Lesson learned
Jonathan is correct. If you could prove your gear was stolen, the local authorities have to help you get it back. Selling stolen goods is illegal in every state of the union, including Pennsylvania. I had a friend that had a MIDI guitar taken away from him from the police, as he bought it from a woman who had stolen it from a man she cleaned house for. He had it for a few years, then decided to sell it. When he put the add in the paper, he got a little call from the local police. Since the original owner had been paid off from his insurance, it now belonged to the insurance company, who sold it to the highest bidder (a local music shop) I ended up actually buying it from that shop. The only guy who was screwed was the guy who bought the hot guitar, and he was given first chance of purchasing it, but didn't want it. I felt bad, but someone was going to get it. It more or less sucked anyway.
On Sunday, March 31, 2002, at 04:33 PM, Jonathan El-Bizri wrote:
What a horrible story! I'm gald it turned out ok though.
I'm glad you got your toys back; just having to deal with people as evil as that would ruin my week. I had a room mate in college that bought a stolen computer once. The relationship didn't last long :/
I think you did what any decent person would do in the situation, but next time you might want to sue the pawn shop instead of settling. The only way to discourage practices like this from happening is to make the process of fencing stolen gear as painful as possible. Even if they get a slap on the wrist, it's not a process they will be interested in making a habit of.
>& amazingly, the Pawn shops were in fact within the bounds of law, but way outside anything
>ethical in how they dealt with me.
Really? Shit. That's not what I've heard but the laws are different in different parts of the country. Where did you hear that 'Fencing' was legal?
You might have to go out of your way to do so, but remember you surely weren't the only person who got screwed. You have to take every chance you get in life to fight wrongs of this sort, since people get away with bad things like this more often than not - it sounds like it was part of that particular store's business model. (Did they show you a receipt for $300?) Getting a court date set up in small claims is not quit as hard as it seems before you begin.
Good luck, and don't leave you gear lying around again.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 3:47 PM
Subject: OT: Re: LONG STORY pawn shops + My Lesson learned
Here is a story for ya which might tellya somethin about pawn shops
Last summer I bought A beautiful Black-Ovation Celebrity w/ deliciously low action, in mint condition, for & $75 US-Dollars; i'm not an ovation fan but became one at that price and fell in love with that acosutic and used it ofen fro finger picked passages or coffee house jazz folk gigs with a more traditional singer songwriter type band i sometimes play with for fun.
Also, Last summer in say July, I bought a Fender Ultimate Chorus Amp for $150USD from the very same Pawn shop where i had gotten a great deal on the ovation
& how could I have ever passed up this deal on the Ultimate Chorus as the amp literally looked and even smelled brand new
So, I bought the Fender Amp & al l was very happy with me.
Now....Let's Cut to November, last year, just Before thanksgiving.
I'm in surburban Philadelphia - The idyllic Bucks County - PA.
& I was stooopid enough to leave 2 archtop guitars Epiphone Emporor Joe Pass Model & My Beloved Carlo Robelli JB 17 Deep Dish Balck Jazz Bomb in addition to my floor unit including a GR-30, Line 6/DL4, Boss GT-3 in addition to a Boss Sp202 and Zoom 234 Drum Machine left carelessly in the back section of my Isuzu Trooper while i went into a radio shack to buy a battery for my Cam-Corder.
Again...very stooopid of me twas this act.
And justly, according to the law of stooopidty and the Karma of a Fool who had exhausted his Foolish excemption from harm, I came out of radio shack, got in my car quite happy that i had finnally gotten a spare camcorder battery and drove off to go to the local McDonald's for a lite lunch.
While driving on my way to the local Mc'Donals, I realized that it was awfully drafty in my car as i usually even in cold weather keep my windows cracked, but this time in particular i was feeeling really drafty so i went to roll up the windows the automatic window buttons.
But this draft i was feelin wasnt goin away and i noticed i could hear the sound of traffic more prominently than ever b4 & then whammo: it really hit me....Holy S**T!
As ya can imagine My left-driver -back windows were smashed out and of course all my gear was missing.
I just lost it - then i got calm - and then i pulled over - and then lost it all over again.
I hurriedly went back to where I had parked my car in the shopping center i was at saw the glass everywhere, and then got on my mobile phone and called the cops who showed quickly & took an incident report and then left.
I was literally going nuts and in a severe state of both dire sadness and desperation and pain over losing stuff that i couldnt even begin to replace as that i never backed anything data up via sys-ex with custom patches on the gt-3 which are irreplaceable.
and in terms of cash towards replacement gear, heck, i couldnt just go out of pocket and make replacements...this was a sever blow to me and AKASH and my progress.
Compounding my sense of loss was My car insurance Co. for my car said that since it was personal property that it would be covered not under my car insurance but rather my gear would be covered under my homeowners insurance...
which just made my depression meter dip to an all time low as i dont have a home that i own and i definitely dont have renter's insurance, so the loss is immediately compounding in its impact on my both psyche, nerves & soul.
then a light goes off in my head...
Now, i dont know how or why or what triggered this thought but i said well this crime is still fresh and that based upon the locat6ion of where it happened and the likelyhood of the person wanting to get rid of the gear as soon as possible meant that there were possibly 2 choices as to where the person would go - if - they in fact were looking to take the gear and sellit quick.
One of the places which was on the way directly back to philadelphia and very close to where the theft occured was the very Pawn shop I had been to and shopped at and bought both the ovation and fender ultimate chorus
So on this hunch alone, I head out to this pawn shop, just a fluke as i walk in and see the very same guy who sold me all my equipment i had bought from them and i ask him jis he had by chance seen any new gear come by their attention like an epiphone emporor and carlo robelli and floor units like a gr-30 and he asks me to look directly behind wherei was standing...VOILA all of my gear is there behiond me and theres a 12 yr old p[laying Crazy train on my Epiphone .
Now here is where it all gets real interesting.
I was relieved and felt lke the luckiest person in the world as that out of all the possibilities which were where my gear could have been located, i found it on the 1st try.
And it turned out the pawn shop bought all of my gear for $300 USdollars cash they said which they paid to "an unidentified man" with no id or name they could actively recall or no physical features they could remember as the whole trasanction was so quick.
And so i said to the pawn shop folks "geee ....that is a shame but your business insurance will cover this and since its stolen gear, u can hand it over to me as i will be on my way with it".
And then the pawn shop said not so fast.
My temper began to flare as I sensed this matter wasnt as close to being resolved as i thought it would be at this point.
They declared "this isnt your property", "its our property" that we bought in good faith and that if u want it back, just how much is it worth to you and that i should also consider them kind and pay a reduced fee on the gear - MY GEAR - which they were just about finished figuring out what the markup price would be though for me being loyal customer, they would give me a discount.
I'm not a voilent person but at this point violence was what consumed my every thoiught and inner being as that i felt that it was the only appropriate response...
but a another light immediately went off in my head saying u are not in a position to compound your misery and that the evil doers are in the hotseeat and that they - the evil-doers of the pawn shop priprietorship - would love to have me hauled off in handcuffs and or to have my case weakened against them by me losing my calm and cool and legitimacy to my own gear.
So i picked up my mobile phone & dailed the police who promptly came on the scene and decided to confiscate the gear.
And after much back and forth over the course of a week i made a deal with the pawn shop to pay $150USD which was 1/2 the amount of what they paid as i couldnt bear the separation any longer.
But the whole ordeal taught me a number of intense lessons and brought insight into how these places of pawn work and what they trade upon and how low they will stoop to make a buck and replenish their inventories.
& amazingly, the Pawn shops were in fact within the bounds of law, but way outside anything ethical in how they dealt with me.
and I came to find out that pawn shops apparently have powerful enuff lobbies in every state which are set up to ensure that essentially they are gonna have it on the books in terms of the law being on their side where the victim of a crime with porperty at a pawn shiop is not immediately set straight or restored back to where they were before as that apparently this type of occurence happens with pawn shops everyday in every town in America.
But the law essentially says these pawn shops once they buy something it is theirs and that the only recourse a vctim of crime has is to sue them in court.
i wasnt going to wait to do that even though i knew and the pawn shop knew I would win.
they just bled me for $$$ which they probably wrote off as losses based upon the market value of the gear as opposed to what they actually paid for it.
But i never leave any of my gear unattended anymore ( i know , i was stooopid ) and i never will buy anything from a Pawn Shop ever again.
I still have the ovation and fender amp i bought from the Pawn Shop last year...
i just dont know if getting rid of the gear just compounds whatever karma came with the stuff or not.
but i assume & accept the karma for the gear i bought at that [awn shop as i still look for great deals these days that are"steals", but not stolen and never again will i ever buy something from a pawn shop.
Im also the type where if i see a 100 dollar bill which isnt mine sitting there in the middle of the street, i wont pick it up or any money at that matter and claim it as mine becasue i just dont know the circumstances of why it ened up there and who it came from.
I now only buy gear either online from major chains or local & reputable music stores which is not necessarily a gurantee that im buying legitimate merchandise, but i sorta think the odds are a lot lower at a music store or vendor with a reputation within the local community that i will get gear that is stolen.
but i also wonder whose gear i really have now and what pain the person has had where if in fact the gear I now have were stolen.
i will never know the truth about the guitar and amp i bought and i cant think of any way to deal with the karma behind this stuff other than hold on to it ( God that sounds self serving ).
But i also can never forget the very real pain i went thru in my own loss &
i kinda chalk it all up to debt paid- if there were one i needed to pay.
& i do consider myself fortunate. but that's my take on pawn shops .
others here may pawn shops differently and have had vastly different and more perhaps positive experiences but do beware as u just might find your own personal property on the shelves of these places and u may have to buy back your very own property.
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