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Suspected stolen goods
  
 
GT3Dan
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Suspected stolen goods


I would like some advice on a situation that may require police involvement. A friend of mine recently bought a camera body and lens and is happy with the purchase, but this week he recently found out that the seller of this gear is selling a lot more gear on the same site he bought his from (I don't want to mention the site because all of this could be on the up and up). I told him of the risk that was involved and the price wasn't "too go to be true", but because of finding this person selling so much gear, he thinks what he just bought might be stolen. I was with him when he bought the body and lens and the seller specifically said that the gear was not stolen. What makes him nervous is that fact that, in my opinion, this guy is selling more gear than any professional would ever USE let alone BUY. Lots of Apple computers supposedly for photography, high end Canon AND Nikon bodies (many 5D MK3, 7D, D600...) and lenses to go with.

I kind of want to go to the police with my buddy, but I don't want him to be to hasty. I guess I have never dealt with this and neither has he and I thought everyone here might be able to help.

Thanks



Jan 23, 2014 at 03:08 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Suspected stolen goods


I'd stay out of it. Guy could have bought out Canoga stock at 60 cents on the dollar.
Lots of resellers workin' the Fora of late, doubt may if any are thieves. Craigslist, maybe.



Jan 23, 2014 at 03:15 PM
GT3Dan
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Suspected stolen goods


I looked at Canoga camera and for him to be selling this much gear he would have to dropped over $20K. I don't really see a part timer doing that for cash.

To be more specific I am from Ohio and so is the seller.

Edited on Jan 23, 2014 at 03:25 PM · View previous versions



Jan 23, 2014 at 03:18 PM
GT3Dan
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Suspected stolen goods


Also I would like to mention that this friend of mine is someone I shoot with regularly and he was forced to give up his camera body that would put a bind in some of the things we do. Thats why I want to help him.


Jan 23, 2014 at 03:21 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Suspected stolen goods


I don't really see a part timer on FM doing that for cash.

See it all the time, more so in a down economy. Just sayin'



Jan 23, 2014 at 03:28 PM
Sarsfield
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Suspected stolen goods


I also would NOT get law enforcement involved. I am not an advocate of turning a blind eye but like you said, the sale prices were not 'steals' and this could just be an out-of-work entrepreneur trying to feed his family. Get the police involved and he'll have the IRS after him and you guys will feel like crap. I'd just take the seller at his word at this point and by doing so, you have no real reason to get anybody else involved.


Jan 23, 2014 at 04:53 PM
anthonysemone
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Suspected stolen goods


Have Seller sign a document (preferably an affidavit) prior to sale attesting to his legitimate ownership of what he's selling listing each item by name and serial # and including his hard address and driver's license #.


Jan 23, 2014 at 05:07 PM
teddoman
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Suspected stolen goods


I usually try to get a sense of the seller's background, why they're selling, a story about who they bought the equipment from and if used then the story/motivations of that seller, their year of purchase, and I try to look up the seller a little bit to see if they're a real photographer. In this day and age, it is very rare to find photographers who do not have some sort of public web presence, at the very least on flickr or something. Legit sellers often volunteer some version of this info without even being prompted.

No one item is definitive, but all of the items together give you clues as to whether the seller is a real photographer, a seller of stolen goods, or a pure scammer.

You should also have your friend register the equipment on lenstag to see if anyone else has lenstagged those serial numbers.

I also try to avoid unboxed equipment or equipment missing stuff, unless I'm really confident the seller is legit. Some of the convos I have had on ebay with sellers have lead me to believe that some of that equipment is stolen: no boxes, no receipts, missing accessories, only the equipment that was probably in someone's car trunk. So unless its an older lens that has passed through multiple hands, I try to not patronize sellers of such equipment as the chances of it being stolen are higher.

If it's a paypal sale, paypal regular gives you the other party's full name and address. Paypal gift apparently doesn't. If some sort of corporate type name shows up instead of their personal name, that's a red flag (as I recently found out here on fm-- a low value item for which I didn't have my guard up that I got reimbursed by paypal for). If it's a cash in person sale, I like the above suggestion about asking them for a driver license and writing down the name, address and license number on a cash receipt.

I often tell people I'm trying to avoid stolen goods if they ask why I want this information. If they aren't more forthcoming with information after hearing that, you pretty much know it's stolen.

Apparently there's a pawn shop database of stolen goods. Maybe you can ask your local pawn shop if they'd run your serial numbers for you. If not, I don't see why law enforcement couldn't run them for you too. You could refuse to give the seller's info unless the item comes up as stolen, so you don't get someone in trouble unnecessarily over a hunch.



Jan 23, 2014 at 05:34 PM
GT3Dan
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Suspected stolen goods


Thanks. That is what I was thinking.

Like I said before, it just seems really odd that one person is selling so much high end equipment. I know they could have gotten it on the cheap from online, but usually that stuff doesn't have that high of a margin to begin with. Especially if the manufacturer is doing a "close out sale" or similar (I understand that the equipment may have a high profit margin from the factory but usually the dealers/resellers aren't getting that big of a discount from the manufacturer to turn around and knock another $500-$1000 off).

Edited on Jan 23, 2014 at 06:01 PM · View previous versions



Jan 23, 2014 at 05:57 PM
GT3Dan
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Suspected stolen goods


anthonysemone wrote:
Have Seller sign a document (preferably an affidavit) prior to sale attesting to his legitimate ownership of what he's selling listing each item by name and serial # and including his hard address and driver's license #.


I would do this but I believe in Ohio for an affidavit to be legal it has to be notarized. My friend was going to have him sign a piece of paper that stated the equipment wasn't stolen but since we were both there and he specifically told both of us it wasn't stolen I figured that would be good enough.



Jan 23, 2014 at 06:00 PM
 

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Wobble
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Suspected stolen goods


Took a firearm in on trade for a computer at an electronics show years ago. Had the local law enforcement run the serial number. Their stipulation: if it comes back stolen, you forfeit the gun.


Jan 23, 2014 at 06:02 PM
GT3Dan
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Suspected stolen goods


This is why I'm getting advice here first, maybe from someone who has dealt with a situation similar to this. He really doesn't want to fork over his new camera and be left with nothing except a $2000 hole in his pocket.


Jan 23, 2014 at 06:03 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Suspected stolen goods


No one item is definitive, but all of the items together give you clues as to whether the seller is a real photographer, a seller of stolen goods, or a pure scammer.
Wow, didn't realize you needed to be a REAL Photographer to make an honest buck.
I know of several resellers on our B&S that haven't taken a shot in years but gladly
make a Ben or so per transaction. No theft, no scam...it's called being an entrepreneur.



Jan 23, 2014 at 07:22 PM
teddoman
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Suspected stolen goods


Late caveat: no disrespect is intended towards anyone dealing honestly on the boards...perhaps I should have added a fourth category "otherwise honest folk" to that list?


Jan 23, 2014 at 07:54 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Suspected stolen goods


Cool. You and the OP are new here...best not to piss on your pals (future)


Jan 23, 2014 at 10:50 PM
teddoman
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Suspected stolen goods


Ha, for sure. I've got no bones with an old timer on the board flippin lenses on the side to make a few bucks if it's on the up and up. Heck, one of my early deals on the B&S board was someone flipping something bought new in a Best Buy promotion for cheap. I told him straight up it was totally fine he was flippin'-fer-profit as long as I could verify the chain of ownership with the receipt. Turned out to be a win win for both of us.


Jan 24, 2014 at 12:56 AM
nolaguy
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Suspected stolen goods


GT3Dan wrote:
I was with him when he bought the body and lens and the seller specifically said that the gear was not stolen.


I l o v e that sentence.




Jan 28, 2014 at 06:16 PM
GT3Dan
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Suspected stolen goods


I guess I forgot to mention that I know where this guy lives and have his phone number. Unless he just showed up at a random apartment and gave me a burner number. If that was the case I would think it would have been easier to just meet me in a Wal-Mart parking lot.


Jan 29, 2014 at 01:05 AM
jasonyuen
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Suspected stolen goods


Could it be possible he inherited it all? I myself am not into photography but inherited about 30+ Leica lenses and collector Leica cameras. As you can see I recently joined this forum. Admittedly, I am trying to get my post count up to join the buy/sell section and liquidate some of my gear. I wouldn't involve the police if you don't need to. If it turns out really to be stolen, the things may be confiscated and be returned to the original owner. Then you'd be left in the cold wondering what happened. It's up to you to balance ethics vs. financial loss. Not saying the decision you make to be wrong or right. But as far as contacting the police, consider that they may hold the property you suspect to be stolen in the evidence locker and in the end may just not be worth the hassle.


Feb 10, 2014 at 01:21 PM
tennclay
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Suspected stolen goods


trenchmonkey wrote:
Cool. You and the OP are new here...best not to piss on your pals (future)


Trenchmonkey - I want you to know that your newbieness never tainted my opinion of you!

(But talking about "Making a Ben" off a deal might do it )



Feb 11, 2014 at 12:40 AM
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