Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How to get my stolen guitar back.
April 18, 2010 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Some guy is selling a guitar that belongs to me on his website, in Dallas. I am in Los Angeles. The guitar has been missing since 2005, when a con-man borrowed it from me who subsequently sold it to pay off the mafia or something. I didn't realize I had been duped for a long time. I was stupid and shouldn't have trusted him. He was impossible to get a hold of and strung me along for months and disappeared but I didn't file a police report because I didn't think they'd be able to find the guitar. Now I just want the guitar back, and I know I have the legal right to it. So what do I do? file a civil suit? call the police in Dallas?

I contacted the person trying to sell it and they offered to sell it to me for what they payed for it....
posted by Charlie Lesoine to Law & Government (54 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does it have a serial number, or some other way to prove ownership? Can you trace from you to the con man to the current owner? Have a lawyer send a letter to the current possessor in Dallas?
posted by kellyblah at 8:14 PM on April 18, 2010


The fact that you never reported the theft to the police leaves you at a disadvantage. If you want it badly enough, you may need to purchase it from the seller.
posted by HuronBob at 8:16 PM on April 18, 2010


IANAL, but it would seem that the statute of limitations for misdemeanor theft (assuming the guitar value wasn't in felony range) is two years. Without a police report or any kind of supporting documentation that you were the rightful owner, you're probably not going to have any recourse beyond the generosity of the seller.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 PM on April 18, 2010


The statute of limitations does not begin until the true owner discovers the location of the item (from a previous mefi question):
"From 63C Am Jur 2d Property ยง 34 (general analysis for all U.S. states):

"The theft of goods or chattels does not divest one who owns, or has title to, such property from his or her ownership of the property, since one cannot make good title to that which he or she does not own. The owner may follow and reclaim the stolen goods wherever he or she may find them, even if such goods have been changed or improved. If possession of the stolen goods by an innocent subsequent purchaser may be deemed lawful, it is rendered unlawful by his or her refusal to honor a demand by the true owner for their possession. Even though such a purchaser may be treated as having title and the right to possession as against everyone but the rightful owner, a sale by the thief or by any person claiming under the thief does not vest any title in the purchaser as against the owner, though the sale was made in the ordinary course of trade and the purchaser acted in good faith. However, one without knowledge that money transferred to him has been obtained through a felony, who receives it honestly and in good faith, although from the thief, acquires good title to it even as against the true owner.

The owner may, through an appropriate action or proceeding, recover the stolen goods, their proceeds, or their value, either from the thief, or from any other person who has not acquired such title and into whose possession they have come, whether innocently or otherwise."

It should also be noted that in many states the statute of limitations on recovering stolen property (and thus the SOL for adverse possession, if allowed in the case of chattels) does not begin to run until the true owner discovers the location of the property."
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 8:42 PM on April 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


How is he charging? Is he accepting credit cards? If so, you could try buying it with a credit card and doing a chargeback.

It also couldn't hurt to call the Dallas police and see what they say, or a lawyer in Dallas (which would probably end up costing more then the cost of the guitar).

One thing to think about, though: What would you think if you put something for sale on the web and someone emailed you saying it used to be theirs, and was stolen? Probably, you would just assume it was some scam.

So it's not all that clear that you'll be able to convince the guy of anything.

Even though the statute of limitations is up on the original theft, possession of stolen goods is itself a crime. According t wikipedia, if the guitar is over $5k in value, and across state lines it's a federal crime
posted by delmoi at 8:46 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I was under the impression that is was after the commission of the offense. But in any case, it couldn't hurt to call the Dallas PD to ask.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:47 PM on April 18, 2010


On the website where the guitar is being sold it mentions that the guitar includes the receipt from the guitars original purchase from 30 years. I Told the seller what name was on the receipt (my fathers) and the seller confirmed that was the name. I don't think I need any more proof than that.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 9:10 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait. Something isn't right here. Why would you provide the receipt to the person who BORROWED your guitar?
posted by FlamingBore at 9:19 PM on April 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So what's to differentiate you from someone who sells their guitar, sees it online years later, and decides he wants it back again for free?

That's why a police report or something would have been useful.

If I were selling a musical instrument that I bought in good faith, it would take a lot more than someone proving that they used to own it to prove that it had actually been stolen from them.
posted by zachawry at 9:21 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Being pragmatic, your best bet is to negotiate. If he's telling you the name on the receipt, than he thinks he has it legitimately. For me that would effect the revenge motive, and it would ruin any criminal case. You would have a civil case, but that would take a long, long time, and still not have any guarantee, (can you prove you didn't sell the guitar?), also it would be expensive (are you sure he has deep enough pockets to collect your legal fees if they are included in the judgment? Getting them awarded isn't the same as getting them paid.)

Try to negotiate. Tell him the story (and your father's name), maybe he will cut you a deal. Even if he won't you still might get it back cheaper (and much quicker) by buying it. (Unless it is Les Paul's second guitar or something.)
posted by Some1 at 9:22 PM on April 18, 2010


The receipt was in the case because it was from 30 years ago and was old enough to be a historical relic. I can prove that it was stolen from me. I just want to know what specific legal action to take first. Do I sue the guy who is selling the guitar now?
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 9:26 PM on April 18, 2010


I contacted the person trying to sell it and they offered to sell it to me for what they payed for it....

There's your answer. Anything else makes the seller (who is most likely an innocent in all this) pay for your mistake. You're the one who lent your guitar to a con-man -- I think you should consider this your penalty and pony up.
posted by vorfeed at 9:28 PM on April 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


@Vorfeed

Even if the guy was "innocent" possession of stolen goods is itself a crime as is selling stolen goods...I think he might have to write it off as a loss or try to sue whoever he bought it from. The guitar is rightfully mine. I'm not going to pay for it.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 10:02 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I doubt that you can prove in civil court that it was stolen from you, given that you did not file a police report. His defence would be that you have no evidence that you didn't sell it.

Buy the guitar. You're not gonna get it back for free.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:17 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your failure to report this crime at the time it happened negates your claim to the guitar.

So what's to differentiate you from someone who sells their guitar, sees it online years later, and decides he wants it back again for free?

Talk to the police but, most likely, you're out of luck because you did not pursue this stolen valuable in the intervening years.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 10:26 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Even if the guy was "innocent" possession of stolen goods is itself a crime as is selling stolen goods..."


No, it really isn't. Knowingly receiving stolen property is a crime, but trying to prove that knowledge would be very difficult. Your only recourse would be civil court. There you could seek the return of the property, but even that would be hard to do because you would have to prove you didn't sell the guitar - ever, to anyone (it's never easy proving a negative). Even a strong case would take months if not years, and a lot of money.

ianyl and all, but I have had similar experiences and I agree with those saying your best course is to cut your losses and buy it back. You anger is justified, but it's not going to get you anywhere at all
posted by Some1 at 10:35 PM on April 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Even if the guy was "innocent" possession of stolen goods is itself a crime as is selling stolen goods...I think he might have to write it off as a loss or try to sue whoever he bought it from. The guitar is rightfully mine. I'm not going to pay for it.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law. I think the likelihood of your getting back the guitar via criminal or civil action is very low, especially since you can't even prove it was stolen in the first place. Going the legal route will still include "paying for it", too: you will need to retain a lawyer, which costs. And, in the end, it's likely that you won't even get the guitar for your troubles. The guitar may be sold or otherwise disappear before you can file, and even if it doesn't, you might lose your legal case.

Or you could give this guy his money and get your guitar back. I know it hurts, but you need to decide which is worth more: the guitar, or your desire to get it for free. You can have one or the other, but chances are you're not going to be able to get both.
posted by vorfeed at 10:41 PM on April 18, 2010


There's your answer. Anything else makes the seller (who is most likely an innocent in all this) pay for your mistake.
What are you talking about? Assuming that what Charlie Lesoine is saying is true, then the seller is the one who made a mistake. They bought stolen property. Not only is an error that they are legally responsible for, it's also a crime. The problem is that, you know, you have no way to prove the guitar was stolen.

Okay, I'm not a lawyer but what if Charlie just filed a police report now? After all, he loaned the guitar to someone, how long do you have before a borrowing becomes a theft? If you loan something to someone, and they don't give it back and you can't contact them, how long before you can claim it as stolen?

Slightly simplifying things: What if Charlie were to say that his guitar was just stolen, say, two months ago? In that case, getting the guitar back would be easy, right? There's no reason why he couldn't say that, except that he already posted this question.

Or what if he were to say he had the guitar in storage, and only noticed that it had been stolen a few months ago, but didn't know when it was actually taken?

So I guess I don't understand why there has to be a specific date that loaning something to someone turns into theft. It seems reasonable to me to say that you only realized you'd never get it back when you saw it for sale online.

But like I said, simple solution is to buy it with a credit card, then do a Chargeback.
Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
There's no actual law that says "Possession is 9/10th of the law".
posted by delmoi at 12:16 AM on April 19, 2010


I'm not a civil litigator or a criminal lawyer, and I will wait for the far more experienced Mefi lawyers to chime in with their advice, but I have to say that delmoi is giving some godawful advice.

Of course there's no actual law that says, "possession is 9/10ths of the law." However, it is one of the oldest and most important principles of property law. Have you ever heard of adverse possession? Legal ownership can be a slippery thing.

Also, please, PLEASE do not advise OP to lie to the police. And if there is any chance of this going to litigation, please do not advise OP to commit perjury.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:56 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


IANA (US) L, but the loss has to fall on either you or the other fellow. You have 3 choices: persuade the fellow to give it to you (unlikely), buy it from him (which you refuse to do), or sue him. If you sue him, you have to prove ownership (apparently do-able), then convince a judge that he/she should decide that the loss falls on the other fellow (who has, so far as we know, acted perfectly properly throughout) or on you (who got conned and didn't report it). I give you about 60/40 he/she will decide you should wear it. Courts are good at making decisions that they think fair, even if not strictly in accordance with the law. Even if you win, it will cost you, and the other fellow will have to bear the loss.

Moral: Sometimes getting your lawful rights ain't worth it. How much do you want to get this guitar back?
posted by Logophiliac at 12:58 AM on April 19, 2010


What if Charlie were to say that his guitar was just stolen, say, two months ago? In that case, getting the guitar back would be easy, right? There's no reason why he couldn't say that, except that he already posted this question.

And besides the reasons already stated...

How do you know that the seller hasn't been in possession of the guitar for months? Years? And has proof of that? Please don't tell OP to make shit up that could end up destroying what little of a case he has.
posted by keep it under cover at 1:04 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not really quite sure why you have asked this question on Ask MeFi. You have refuted the advice of everyone who has questioned your actions, or told you something that you don't want to hear.

Just call the police and a lawyer, tell both the story, and see how seriously each of them take it. That will give you the answer to what you should/can do.
posted by ryanbryan at 3:21 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


1) Sounds like you've already explained the situation to this guy and he is (reasonably) wanting to part with it only for what he paid
2) Next step would be to file a police report, since [i]a crime was committed[/i]. They'll tell you if they can help you or not. You might need to call the local police to file the report (where the guitar was stolen), but also wouldn't hurt to call Dallas and see what they say.
3) They probably won't be able to help so you can
3 a) Sue the guy
3 b) Buy the guitar
3 c) Move on
posted by CharlesV42 at 4:57 AM on April 19, 2010


I have a similar real life experience that may help you decide your course of action.

Our office was broken into and 4 laptops were stolen. We had no idea who, and we found out how woefully easy it is to break into a commercial office. We made all of the proper police reports. Nada. About three months later, I get an acknowledgment order from the laptop mfr giving me a heads up that the warranty repairs were scheduled to be done soon--on one of the stolen laptops. Only the name on the ship-to address was a residence & name that wasn't ours.

I called the mfr immediately & changed the ship to back our company. The service tech had talked to the addressee who said he had 4 laptops, but wanted to get them serviced one-by-one.

So, we knew where the laptops were, and whether or not this was the person who took them, he had possession of them. I called our police department and the local pd where he was (2 miles away). Neither would take responsibility for doing ANYTHING. Ours, b/c he wasn't in their jurisdiction and the other because there wasn't any (in their opinion) probable cause for a warrant, given that 3 months had gone by.

Our PD called the guy, who claimed he bought ONE laptop, from a pawn shop, no he didn't have a receipt, and didn't remember which pawn shop he bought it from. The guy had the gall to ask if he could buy the computer back for $100 (these were fairly new, fully loaded laptops that we had bought for about $2500). He had "no idea" about the other three, but wanted to know if we offered a reward if he could remember the pawn shop name.

I was there at the PD when this phone call took place. The officer wanted me to talk to the guy--"to negotiate a fair price for the return." I couldn't believe it! But talking to a commander in the PD at least helped me understand. Police department resources are stretched as tight as every other tax-funded public entity (schools, libraries, fire depts, etc.) and they couldn't afford the resources versus us making a claim on our insurance against the loss.

Long story shortened just a tad--if you feel you have no other recourse, make a claim on your homeowners/renters insurance & buy your guitar back. You have the knowledge that you are completely right, it is your guitar and you should have it back, but the wheels of justice just don't grind that way. And I wouldn't recommend the credit card charge back scheme. If that guitar means that much to you--and from your responses it is clear that it does, buy it back and never ever loan your guitars out to anyone you don't trust absolutely.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:20 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I contacted the person trying to sell it and they offered to sell it to me for what they payed for it.... "

i think that was pretty damn generous of the seller. it's also the cheapest way to get your guitar back. yes you can sue him, but suing him may result in not getting the guitar back. but yeah, to get it back you have to file a civil suit ... in dallas. not that hard to do, but it will cost a bit, and last for a while.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:42 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


IANAL either, but as far as making a case for theft, you say the receipt from the guitars original purchase from 30 years is with the fella who is selling it. So your evidence for possible theft is not with you, but the other person. Not going to help matters at all.
posted by madman at 6:23 AM on April 19, 2010


I think the best course would be to buy it back at cost to the seller.

In terms of legal remedies, you would be looking likely at replevin. If you want to go down that path, you definitely have to contact a lawyer in Dallas to see what his expectation of success would be (or other alternatives) for that type of lawsuit.

That said, it'd end up with you in court having to basically prove you didn't sell the guitar at some point years ago and now having seller's remorse. The fact you didn't file out a police report when it went missing (and no, don't call the police to have a fake report created - by all things wise and worldly, DON'T DO THAT) certainly won't help your case at proving that you didn't just make some guitar for cash transaction. What proof do you have that you retained the legal right of possession? A lawyer in Dallas might be able to weigh in on how much proof having your father's name on a receipt is worth.

Someone above pointed out the cost of hiring an attorney. Throw in that and maybe even a trip to Dallas, unless your guitar is worth tens of thousands...you're more likely to be most successful simply buying the guitar back at costs (very generous), than winning it back in court.

That's my opinion, anyhoots.
posted by Atreides at 6:39 AM on April 19, 2010


Let's just assume for simplicity that I can prove that the guitar was stolen because I got the original person I lent it to to admit they stole it.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 6:42 AM on April 19, 2010


"But like I said, simple solution is to buy it with a credit card, then do a Chargeback."

This sounds a lot like fraud to me. Don't do that. Also: the phrase is "possession is 9/10ths of the law", not "possession is 9/10ths of the statute". The OP would have to prove that the guitar is rightfully his. Absent some documentation (like, for example, a police report and corroborating circumstances), there's no reason to believe it doesn't belong to the person who actually possesses it right now.

You've got two reasonable options:

1. Call the police. File a police report. Wait, frustratedly, while they put your case on the back-burner while they help people whose victimization was important enough to them to file a timely police report. When they do put minimal effort into it, they'll find that, short of the seller getting spooked, they're not going to get the item back without a lot of work and expense. (probably far more than the guitar is worth). In the end, you wind up with nothing, but you're probably even more angry.

2. Call the seller back. Buy it back from him for what he paid for it. You get your guitar back for a pretty good deal, all things considered. It doesn't do much for your desire for retribution, but you are very unlikely to find any of that this late in the game anyhow.

Keep in mind that you do not have unlimited time for this: once the seller sells it, you likely will have lost the option for #2.
posted by toomuchpete at 6:45 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


They bought stolen property. Not only is an error that they are legally responsible for, it's also a crime.

Knowingly buying stolen property is a crime. Since the theft wasn't even reported, there's no reason to believe this person knew. As far as anyone but the OP is concerned, there's no reason to even assume the guitair was ever stolen, because the theft was never reported.

The seller offering to give to you for what he paid is a pretty good deal, all told.
posted by spaltavian at 7:03 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You lent your guitar to someone untrustworthy and it was stolen. Shitty, but lesson learned.

You didn't file a police report. Not too smart, as you now have no proof that it was actually stolen in the first place (And this receipt thing? The person in possession of it can just throw it out, you know.), but lesson learned.

You now have the opportunity to get off your high horse because the guitar is "rightfully yours" and buy back this prized possession for what the seller paid for it. Or not. Lesson learned?
posted by meerkatty at 7:39 AM on April 19, 2010


As I said before, Let's just assume for simplicity that I can prove that the guitar was stolen because I got the original person I lent it to to admit they stole it.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 7:45 AM on April 19, 2010


The law of theft and whether the statute of limitations can be extended by the thief's deception is a question of state law and actually, there's some question about which state's law (CA or TX) should apply and we don't have enough facts here to answer that question. All these citations to statutes and AmJur (which is really insufficient to answer the question because it's not a statute; it's at best a jumping-off point in terms of doing more research) are assuming a lot and not giving you an answer.

The quickest way to get the guitar back is to pay the seller what he paid for it.

The slowest way to get the guitar back, assuming the seller doesn't cave upon getting served with papers, is to file a lawsuit. Depending on the cost of the guitar, the legal fees could easily exceed the cost of buying the guitar back, even if the thief admits he stole it and that he strung you along.

If the thief would admit to the seller that he stole it, maybe that would bring the price down in a hurry?
posted by *s at 7:46 AM on April 19, 2010


The seller offered to sell the guitar back to me for $2800 plus shipping.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 7:54 AM on April 19, 2010


Maybe it would help to look at this as a rare gift? Musicians have equipment stolen all the time-cheap gear, expensive gear, irreplaceable gear, sentimentally priceless gear-and very little of it is ever recovered. You're one of the few who ever gets that chance, which is pretty amazing. If you hadn't seen it on the website and if the receipt wasn't still with it the guitar would probably be gone for good.

You have two choices at this point.

Pay the dealer and get your dad's guitar back today. You are guaranteed to get the guitar back, but this is a limited time offer because the dealer isn't interested in holding onto a guitar just for kicks.

Or you can attempt to recover the guitar through legal means. IANAL, YANAL, and even the lawyers in this thread are saying your success here is far from certain. So you may possibly get the guitar back. Plus you could be out significant money in legal fees, travel, etc.

If you were given the choice to pay the dealer $2800 for the guitar or pay a lawyer $2800 to maybe get the guitar which would you pick?
posted by 6550 at 8:15 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


As I said before, Let's just assume for simplicity that I can prove that the guitar was stolen because I got the original person I lent it to to admit they stole it.

And what? You think he's going to admit that to the cops or a lawyer or a jury or something? Puh-lease. If he's a con man, he admitted it to you to get you off his back. There's no way in hell he's going to self-incriminate with the cops, which would be the only useful thing to you in this situation.

Be grateful that the seller is willing to give you a break on the price. That's amazingly generous of him, and you should take him up on it. Your guitar took a winding journey to get back to you, but it's coming back!

A lawyer isn't going to get you a better or surer deal than what you have now.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:47 AM on April 19, 2010


@stonweaver

The guy also conned me out of some money too. We signed a notarized contract that he did not uphold. I believe he would admit that he stole it in return for me agreeing not to sue him for damages.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 8:57 AM on April 19, 2010


The guy also conned me out of some money too. We signed a notarized contract that he did not uphold. I believe he would admit that he stole it in return for me agreeing not to sue him for damages.

You're getting conned again.
posted by spaltavian at 9:11 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Since you're in contact with the scumbag who robbed you in the first place, what are the chances you can have him pay for the guitar from the guy selling it?
posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:15 AM on April 19, 2010


Get the guy who stole it originally to pay the $2800+shipping. He's the only one who did anything wrong. He's probably much more likely to give you cash than to testify against himself in court on criminal matters anyway.
posted by jacalata at 9:16 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


i'm not a lawyer, but i've paid for a few. any additional complications--like your friend willing to admit he stole it--will simply cost you more money when suing for the item's return.

that said, even if it was a more straightforward case i imagine it will probably cost about 3k to sue the guy. and you still might lose.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 9:19 AM on April 19, 2010


It sounds like you're bound up enough already with the skeevy guy. Avoid people like that. In your place, I sure as hell wouldn't want to make any more "agreements" or contracts with this criminal; nor would I want to drag him into court to basically testify against himself. He's a sleazeball! Stay far away.

Secondly, I agree with those who say that you would not believe how fast $2800 will vanish once you get a lawyer involved - and you have no guarantee of winning.

Pay the money and get your guitar back. I had a guitar stolen that I hadn't even owned very long, and I still mourn it. If it it turned up somewhere, I'd want to buy it back. The fact that it has a family history with you (and at that price is probably a pretty nice instrument) makes it uniquely valuable to you, more than to any other individual. Getting it back at cost is a steal. As has been pointed out, most people who lose an instrument never have the opportunity to be reunited with it. You are so lucky it turned up, and you found it.

There's a lot to be said in this life for simplicity. Though I'm sure it rankles that you got taken advantage of, the simplest way to have the guitar again is to buy it, and be free of long-term legal wrangling, sleazeball people, courts and laywers and fees, and the strain of incurring more bad blood in this nasty little world you've been exposed to. Keep it simple. Buy it back. Don't lend it out any more, and have done with the sketchy fellow.

And for God's sake - put it on your insurance, and if this happens again, file a police report immediately. That would have made this a lot more cut and dried.
posted by Miko at 9:29 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is it legal to compel someone to testify against himself in a criminal proceeding at the risk of filing civil suit? IANAL, but I'm having a hard time distinguishing that from blackmail.
posted by JMOZ at 10:30 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


OP, I'm having a hard time understanding how you expect this to play out.

Are you planning on filing the police report in order to substantiate a civil action against the seller? And you believe you can get a full confession to the police from con-guy by now threatening to enforce an agreement that wasn't worth enforcing before, in order to now report a theft that you never bothered reporting before?

I'm sorry, but you don't have proof. You have a bluff, an obvious one. I have no doubt that con-guy is going to call your bluff. Without his admission of guilt, any police report you file now is going to be meaningless.

Don't underestimate con-guy. Con-guy has already conned you twice before. Be realistic and put aside your wounded pride. Don't play his game. I agree with Miko, there are too many contingencies and what-ifs in your plan to make it worth your while. Save yourself the aggravation and especially do not put yourself offside of the law. Have your revenge or have your guitar back? Forget about him, and count yourself very lucky that this sentimental item has turned up at all and is in the hands of a very reasonable seller. That's how you win.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah the problem is I don't have $2800.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 1:05 PM on April 19, 2010


can you take out a loan? is there someone in your family who will help you out with the cost? can you put up something else as collateral for the loan?
posted by lakersfan1222 at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2010


Then you're going to have to borrow or make $2,800. Sorry, there's not a magical answer out there that doesn't involve money. A lawyer is going to cost just as much - or more - and the cops really aren't going to do jack about this situation. You didn't file a police report. It's in another state. Find the money or kiss the guitar goodbye. It sucks, but it's also the truth. Do write the guy selling it and see if he's willing to hang onto it for a month while you get some money together. That's the best you can hope for.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:48 PM on April 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


what stoneweaver said
posted by lakersfan1222 at 5:36 PM on April 19, 2010


ah. after reading a bit more about this, the solution is obvious. sic your con man on this guy. lean on him to get the guitar back ... or at least the 3k to get it back. might as well put his talents to work for you.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:50 AM on April 20, 2010


ah. after reading a bit more about this, the solution is obvious. sic your con man on this guy. lean on him to get the guitar back ... or at least the 3k to get it back. might as well put his talents to work for you.

I think this is a really bad idea. Giving this con-man any power over you is going to result in another scam -- eventually he will want you to return this "favor", and you'll probably end up losing more than just $2800. Besides, what are you going to do when the seller calls the cops and turns you in for extortion?

If I were you, I'd cut this scammer out of your life forever, starting today. Don't talk to him, and forget about the money he owes you; it no longer exists as anything other than a token he can use to attempt to get more of your money.
posted by vorfeed at 11:34 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Agreed with vorfeed that this is colossally bad advice. The last thing OP needs is for con-guy to obtain leverage over him, yet again. Putting the guitar back into the hands of con-guy would do precisely that. Not to mention how it suggests that OP is the kind of person who would sic a con-man on an innocent person. OP, I really hope you are not that kind of person.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:30 PM on April 20, 2010


Wow, from your original question it wasn't clear you were still in touch with the guy who originally conned you.

How did you find the website in Dallas with the guitar listed? Is there any chance that your con-artist (or information from your con-artist) is what pointed you toward that web site in the first place?

It sure sounds like you should consider the possibility that this entire scenario, five years later, is just a new iteration of the same con.

(Does the con-artist know you wouldn't be able to afford the $2,800?)

(And by any chance did you not originally report the crime because to do so would reveal to the police that you were originally strung along by being tempted to be part of a possibly-criminal transaction yourself? Because that would be classic.)
posted by nobody at 9:14 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


yeah, it might be horrible advice ... but he asked how to get the guitar back. what i suggested might actually work. oh, and keep it under cover--please actually try to answer the question instead of saying that other people are giving bad advice. all your advice said was 'forget about it.' didn't really help the poster, did it? note that i didn't tell the poster that you had bad advice--even though think it was particularly useless.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 7:54 PM on April 25, 2010


So, did you get the guitar back?
posted by stoneweaver at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2010


« Older Need help styling jquery ui ta...   |  Is there a drastic difference ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.