Being the victim of theft can be a traumatic experience. Having your property stolen can be financially devastating and, in the case of sentimental objects, personally demoralizing. Thankfully, there are things you can do to recover your stolen property.
Many times, thieves aren’t looking to keep the items they steal, but are rather looking to re-sell them for quick cash. This means your property will likely spend a period of time back on the market, and this is your window of opportunity to get it back.
“Most thieves will take stolen goods to a nearby pawn shop, if they don’t already have a buyer in mind,” says Dan Goldstein, a theft lawyer from Salt Lake City, Utah. “They’re smart. They don’t want to get caught red-handed, so they’ll try to fence the goods as soon as possible. Once they do, your time window for recovering your stolen property has opened—but it won’t be open for long.”
Here are some ways you can go about recovering your stolen property:
Call the police.
The first thing you absolutely must do after being robbed is inform the local authorities. File a report and take inventory of everything that was lost. If you have serial numbers, the police may be able to help track down some of your stolen property.
“Calling the police is absolutely the best thing to do after getting robbed,” Goldstein says. “They’re trained experts and can learn a lot about the thieves just by examining the scene. Insist they dust for fingerprints and give them a detailed list of the items that were stolen. ”
Visit the local pawn shops.
As previously mentioned, criminals want to ditch stolen property as soon as possible. One way they do this is by utilizing local pawn, resale, and consignment shops. If your stolen property has any scratches, marks, or customized features, it’ll be easy to spot at one of these establishments.
If you had previously filed a police report, the pawn, resale, or consignment shop will work with you to and the constabulary to return your goods.
Look for stolen goods online.
Craigslist and eBay are the pawn shops of the digital era. As such, they’re sometimes abused by criminals—though this is rarer, as few common thieves possess the technical knowledge required to effectively hide their identities online.
“It has happened, definitely—people have found their stolen property on websites like Craigslist,” Goldstein says. “I once worked on a case for a woman who had her iPod stolen, amongst other things. She went online looking to replace it and noticed there was one for sale with her own personalized engraving.”
Browse local listing sites, including your area Craigslist, for posts with descriptions that match your lost items. If you do find a posting that seems suspicious, it is imperative that you alert the authorities before arranging any kind of meet-up. These are criminals we’re talking about, so avoid the temptation to engage in any kind of confrontation. Call the police and let them do the job they’re trained and paid for.