Stolen goods, protect yourself

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

They happen more often than you know, a residential or commercial burglary.

If the serial number was not recorded, those stolen items more than likely won’t be recovered.

If the only description you can give is the brand and maybe the model number of your stolen good, that’s not a lot for any investigator to go on. That’s because if it’s a commercially available item such as a television or stereo system, hundreds of thousands of them are made in any given year.

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The number one lesson to learn here is to record the serial number of each and every device you own. That may sound like a task, especially in a day and age when we own more and more devices. But remember, you have a camera on your cellphone. So where do you keep all of the photos of those serial numbers so they too aren’t stolen? Your email account could be a good place, especially since your email can be accessed from any Internet connected device.

Now, how can we protect ourselves from purchasing potentially stolen items?

While purchasing a stolen item unknowingly is not a crime, if investigators do find a stolen item in your possession it’s their job to get it back to the rightful owner, which could mean you’re out some money if the person who sold it to you is not a reputable retailer.

The best way to avoid this situation is to avoid buying things from people off the street. Items for sale at pawn shops are typically pretty safe because the business owner likes to protect their investment by ensuring the item brought into their shop was acquired by honest means. But, if they do sell you a stolen item unknowingly, and it’s confiscated by law enforcement, you should be able to get a refund from the pawn shop.

Now, I’m off to start taking some photos and sending some emails.