PDA

View Full Version : Buying Stolen Equipment


Darryl G
10-20-2011, 07:06 PM
I've been looking at buying some used equipment. I've noticed some ads seem a little fishy, like on Ebay there's a Shindaiwa blower for sale by 2 different people with the exact same description, and I don't mean just the manufacturer specs, so that's a red flag to me that one or the other might be a scam.

But how do I know if a piece of equipment is stolen? Is there a centralized place where stolen equipment serial numbers are recorded? Do dealers have this info? I really want to make sure that anything I buy is legitimate. Other than the seller having the original sales receipt and owner's manual, is there any other way to tell if they are the rightfull owner?

I thought about putting this in the stolen equipment section, but there's not much traffic there.

MOturkey
10-20-2011, 08:41 PM
No real experience in this area, Darryl, but I'm thinking just ask for the serial number. If it is stolen, I wouldn't think anyone would be dumb enough to furnish the serial number prior to the sale, but, then, who knows? You could at least check it through law enforcement in the area. Not necessarily a foolproof method, but would at least give you some peace of mind.

BaxtersEssentialLawnCare
10-20-2011, 09:05 PM
You might be able to call a local law enforcement agency. They have a national database that all serials #s are logged when things are reported stolen. I was told this when I had to report a stolen gun. Don't quote me it might be only firearms, but I'm pretty sure that is was for everything. Might be something to look into.

ecurbthims
10-20-2011, 10:46 PM
just wanted to say that its possible that the ebay sellers just copied the add off of one another ,if I remember correctly theres a section "sell an item like this " which helps you to copy the other guys add .The best thing with ebay ,is to check the guys feedback as usually the bad sellers have bad feedback ,but if they are new sellers theres not much feedback to go on .

Darryl G
10-20-2011, 11:10 PM
Yeah, I checked feedback and one of them has good feedback, but only as a buyer. I couldn't find anything he'd ever sold before. He was also a "no returns" seller, and that just doens't work for me when buying something used with only 1 photo and a copy and pasted description.

On the topic of stolen equipment lists, I have found sites for heavy equipment, cameras and computers, but none for power equipment. It's interesting that some of the new digital cameras actually embed their serial number in all photos they take. One guy was able to recover $9,000 worth of stolen camera equipment by finding photos taken with his camera on Flickr.

DaveWB
10-21-2011, 01:00 AM
Yeah, I checked feedback and one of them has good feedback, but only as a buyer. I couldn't find anything he'd ever sold before. He was also a "no returns" seller, and that just doens't work for me when buying something used with only 1 photo and a copy and pasted description.

On the topic of stolen equipment lists, I have found sites for heavy equipment, cameras and computers, but none for power equipment. It's interesting that some of the new digital cameras actually embed their serial number in all photos they take. One guy was able to recover $9,000 worth of stolen camera equipment by finding photos taken with his camera on Flickr.

I don't offer returns either when I sell stuff, on eBay a return means if you don't want it anymore you can/cannot return it. If the item doesn't work you can return it because you are covered under eBay/PayPal. When trying to determine whether something is stolen or not just ask them questions about where they got it, what they used it for... etc. If it seems a little fishy to you then you might want to back away. You can check tracechecker.com but if its not on there it doesn't mean its not stolen.

Tinkerer
10-21-2011, 02:42 AM
Local police told me they do not keep a database for serial numbers of stolen items other than cars/trucks. Insurance companies sometimes do keep a database of numbers.

brndn
10-22-2011, 11:52 AM
Call your local dealer - they will let you know if it's stolen or not.

Groomer
10-22-2011, 12:02 PM
I could see buying a used mower from a local source if I were able to inspect it before purchase. But how much are you really saving buying used blowers, trimmers, etc.? Shipping and all the other "unknowns" factored in? So you bought a used shindy blower and had it shipped and then had to take it to the shop and...

dhardin53
10-22-2011, 12:05 PM
If you think it stolen just offer less than he asking, he will most likely go down if you show him cash. Ask for a receipt. be prepared for the cops to come a calling. But you can most time come out ahead. It all up the the individual. I try not to get involved myself.

DaveWB
10-22-2011, 01:24 PM
Local police told me they do not keep a database for serial numbers of stolen items other than cars/trucks. Insurance companies sometimes do keep a database of numbers.

If you have something stolen from you and you have the serial number it will be added to a database that the cops check.
Posted via Mobile Device

Trueblue108
10-24-2011, 10:52 AM
Local police told me they do not keep a database for serial numbers of stolen items other than cars/trucks. Insurance companies sometimes do keep a database of numbers.

That information is not accurate. It's called NCIC. More likely in your case, you encountered a lazy cop who didn't want to look into it. I'd check back again and ask to speak with a different officer.

B

Trueblue108
10-24-2011, 11:17 AM
In my experience (15 years as a full time cop and 15 as a business owner) not enough people in this industry look into this issue. We have all come accross deals that are "tood good to be true", but I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people either buy the equipment anyway or dont buy it but dont report it. You are experts in your field and know when something is not quite right. We all owe it to the others in this industry to report these 'sales' when we see them.

As I mentioned in my previous post, a lot of cops (even good ones) are lazy when it comes to making a report for something like this. I will give you two scenarios and you tell me in which one you are more likely to get a response from the officer.

#1 You go into your local police station and tell a dispatcher or receptionist that you are thinking about buying a piece of equipment and want to know if it's stolen. They don't know what to do and call the officer in charge to tell them that some landscaper is inquiring about buying equipment. Confused and not wanting to deal with this, the OIC sends an officer to the station to talk with you. When that officer is dispatched, they get no information other than "there is a guy in the lobby who needs advice". The officer arrives, could care less about youre potential purchase, and says there's nothing he can do and that some insurance companies keep lists of such items. He's just deflected a BS call which will result in BS paperwork on to an insurance company and you go on your way with no help.

#2
You go into your local police station to report possible criminal activity and stolen commercial landscape equipment. The dispatcher or receptionist contacts an available officer, or even a detective possibly, to meet with you. You are able to articulate why you believe that this piece of equipment is stolen (too good of a deal, multiple on-line posts of equipement under different names, has little knowledge about the equipement, etc) You have just reported a probable crime to the officer instead of posing the question, "I wonder if this is stolen" and now have his attention. Offer to get the serial number or even make the purchase if it's a good deal. If the equipment is entered as stolen through the National Crime and Information Computer (NCIC), you just helped the victim of a theft, law enforcement, and maybe locked up a bad guy!