We've been robbed
September 17, 2004 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Last night me and my housemates got robbed. They took some DVDs, some Video Games, our TV, and my buddie's guitar, which had a lot of sentimental value. (more inside)

We called the police, but other then coming over to talk, they don't seem to be doing much. With seven guys living in a house, he seemed to think we were "pretty fishy" (his words, not mine).

This morning, one of my housemates called his credit card company to report his card stolen, and they said that it had been used at a couple of gas stations. We called the police, but they officer said that those videos arn't very relable, and it's probably no good.

This cop doesn't really seem all that interested, but who knows? They might be working on it. While we wait, is there anything we can do, other then cruise the Pawn Shops?
posted by hughbot to Law & Government (15 answers total)
How did they get in? Stop them getting in that way again. Simple, eh? But important. Stand outside your house and think: if I wanted to rob this place, how would I get in? Easy-access windows? Side gates? Get some locks (for windows in particular) and make sure they're kept locked when you're not there. All you really need to do is make it slightly harder to break into your house than the houses on either side of you. Mind, they might have spotted that you are a bunch of males living together and thought ah! males = video games, consoles, dvds, tvs = easy to fence for some ready cash... But the main thing is: make it a bit of a stretch to break into your place.

Thieves will often target the same place about a month or so after they did it the first time. They let you get your insurance claim sorted out and the stuff replaced, then come and try and get that, too.

The copper is acting like an asshole to call it 'fishy' that there are seven males living together. Sounds like large amounts of student accommodation to me...
posted by humuhumu at 2:45 PM on September 17, 2004

Leave a description of your guitar at any musical instrument stores or repair depots in your area. These kind of things often get brought in to those kind of businesses. Either by the theives themselves trying to get more than the pawn shop will give them, or buy the unwitting buyers needing parts or repairs.

Buddy of mine had a very expensive, exclusive brand, car stereo stolen but the thieves neglected to take the remote. Two weeks later they showed up at the only place in town that sold this brand wanting to buy a remote. The owner had been informed the stereo had been stolen and he delayed the theives until the police arrived.
posted by Mitheral at 2:54 PM on September 17, 2004

Check eBay, as well as the bulletin boards at various colleges, cafes and skate shops and used record stores. Any place likely to display a "used gear" flyer.You may also want to watch the classifieds in local music magazines.

The police would seem lax due to the lack to truly definative leads. If all they have is a description of the stolen items, they're stuck with a petty theft call whch could turn cold before any suspects or leads could be found.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:09 PM on September 17, 2004

The cops are not going to help you unless you pester them. I say this as a robbery victim and as the son of a cop. They don't have the manpower to handle every robbery. Even low-end felonies aren't possible to handle; most of them only become important as prosecution tools in conjunction with other felonies. And we'll never, ever have enough cops: the only way you could have enough cops would be a police state, where one half of the populace is watching the other half.

So, do the legwork to make a case that they should take the case: take pictures, take notes, interview all of your roommates, talk to the neighbors, visit the music stores, visit the places the credit card was used, contact the owners of those establishments about accessing the video, talk to whoever was on duty at those places, etc., etc. Then bring it to the cops.

The police are not your friends, not a cure-all, not perfect. They are merely a barrier between a semi-liveable society and anarchy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:57 PM on September 17, 2004

The police are not your friends, not a cure-all, not perfect. They are merely a barrier between a semi-liveable society and anarchy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:57 PM PST on September 17

The Thin Blue Line, a treatment by Mo Nickels.
posted by the fire you left me at 4:21 PM on September 17, 2004

As someone that has had stuff stolen I have to say the cops are pretty useless but you do want to report your stolen stuff so that if you find it later you can claim it. Of the items you've described the only that might be distinctive enough to be be identified is the guitar. Sorry about your loss.
posted by rdr at 5:31 PM on September 17, 2004

The Thin Blue Line, a treatment by Mo Nickels.
posted by the fire you left me at 4:21 PM PST on September 17

posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on September 17, 2004

In the future:
You can use invisible permanent marker on all your electricals, and install auto on/off swithes for lights, so that when you're out - you appear to be in. Most important: get a lock for the door to your room - and advise your mates to do the same. Locks on the windows, wherever possible. The living room is harder to protect, but small changes will at least raise awareness of your risks.

Cheap, effective, assertive - you'll feel better about what you've lost, and safeguard their replacements. Hope it don't happen again.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:48 PM on September 17, 2004

Response by poster: Well, we'll probably hit up the convinience store tommorow, where they used the credit card, see if they have any video of them. Also, I guess they tried to use it at a gas station, so we're going to try there as well.

The crappiest thing is that none of us ever thought to get tenent's insurance, so there's no real way to get anything back. Also, for some reason they took all my Gamecube games, but left the Gamecube, and took the PS2, but left the PS2 games.

We're going to try some of our freind's less 'upstandng' contacts, see if someone knows who might have done it.

Also, there's a new house rule: The last person to go to bed makes sure the house is sercure. Failure to comply means six bag tags, come the morning.
posted by hughbot at 6:09 PM on September 17, 2004

I checked urban dictionary and google...WTF are bag tags?
posted by gokart4xmas at 8:25 PM on September 17, 2004

Response by poster: A scrotum is sometimes reffered to as a 'bag'. A 'Bag-Tag' is when you 'tag' someone's bag. Usually with some force.

Not something to look forward to.
posted by hughbot at 9:29 PM on September 17, 2004

I guess someone has to:
Metafilter: Not your friends, not a cure-all, not perfect.

Sorry about your stuff getting stolen.
posted by ssmith at 4:56 AM on September 18, 2004

Who do you know with a serious drug habit that lives nearby, or in the house?
posted by mecran01 at 6:43 AM on September 18, 2004

If this wasn't mentioned: If it's some punk kid they will probably strike again in the same neighborhood. Flyers to warn your neighbors/catch the creep?

Metafilter: my only friend.
posted by mecran01 at 7:09 AM on September 18, 2004

As has been said many, many times here before: if you rent, renter's insurance is an absolute necessity. It is worth far, far more than it costs, and it usually doesn't cost much at all. And it often doesn't just cover the stuff in your apartment, but in your car as well. Between the 7 of you there is no reason you couldn't afford to cover all of your stuff (or whatever's left of your stuff).

Also, I recommend popping a small, cheap memory card into a digital camera and taking photos of all of your valuables. Get multi-angle shots, and if you can, get the serial number too. Then take that card and store it somewhere, like in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. If you're robbed or have a fire, you won't have much trouble telling the insurance company/cops what you lost. (alternate method: burn the photos to CD/DVD with text describing serial number, date of purchase, model numbers, etc and store that away)
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2004

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