Buying Stolen Equipment

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Darryl G, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,064

    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.
  2. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,757

    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.
  3. BaxtersEssentialLawnCare

    BaxtersEssentialLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 299

    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.
  4. ecurbthims

    ecurbthims LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 468

    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 .
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,064

    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.
  6. DaveWB

    DaveWB LawnSite Senior Member
    from SE WI
    Posts: 265

    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 but if its not on there it doesn't mean its not stolen.
  7. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 620

    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.
  8. brndn

    brndn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Call your local dealer - they will let you know if it's stolen or not.
  9. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    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...
  10. dhardin53

    dhardin53 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 711

    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.

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