PA - Ex-fiance kept property, also rifle gifted to former brother in-law (moved 2 NJ)


April 22, 2008, 10:18 PM
Ex-Fiance kept my property after a breakup.

I bought a nice laptop last year, which I let her use for school. She said she wanted to keep it and pay me for it. OKay, no big deal. I also gifted her brother (NJ Resident) a WW2 Mosin M91/30. He does not have his FID (NJ thing), but gifting is okay if I recall correctly if there is no reason to believe the recipient cannot own).

Fast Forward to now.

She has had 3 months to start making good on her payments. She has ignored my emails and phone calls, only to email back every now and then to stop harassing her, she cannot afford to pay me (she can, I know this).

The rifle is worthless, unless it's a legal liability/foot in the door. The laptop, on the other hand, I have my receipt for via Credit Card statement for the full amount, about a month after her birthday, so she cannot claim it as a gift. I really would like to get the full amount, or, really, get the laptop by surprise, and have her want to pay me for it since she is using it for school (a tough measure, but I want the full amount, and that would work...).

I still have the damn car key to the car I let her keep (that I paid about half on, a 2002 Audi allroad... ugh), so I could simply pull it from her car when she goes out drinking (yes, she's a wonderful gal). But that's a bit much...

Do I need a judge to get me a warrant for the seizure of the property? That's not a bad idea actually... instead of taking her to small claims, just show up with the police in order to reclaim my property (as well as some small other things (pots and pans, etc).

What is my best plan of action? I thought if I went to the police with my American Express statement and explain what happened, they would just want me to get a judge to have them execute it...

Ideas? Thoughts? Yes, I'd like the gun back too, but that was a gift to her brother... ? Liability? Yes, it is.... :banghead:

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April 22, 2008, 10:45 PM
If I were you I would consult an attorney.

April 22, 2008, 10:48 PM
The car, whose name is it in? If you can, sell it.

Before that though, snag your laptop when she goes drinking. Don't tell her, and demand payment anyway. Hey, she tried to screw you first.

You gave the rifle to a third party, don't shaft him though.

April 22, 2008, 10:55 PM
Yeah I'd say the rifle is lost, get some advice on the legality of snatching the laptop(get it from a good source, like a real lawyer instead of the net lawyers).

Good luck.

lee n. field
April 22, 2008, 11:08 PM
What is my best plan of action?

Walk away, write it off and know better next time.

April 23, 2008, 06:58 AM
"What is my best plan of action?"
Take this to APS, as it doesn't seem gun related.


2nd 41
April 23, 2008, 07:15 AM
If I were you I would consult an attorney
This is your best advice.
Who's name is the rifle in?

April 23, 2008, 10:02 AM
Walk away and use it as a lesson learned before she remembers that Lautenberg ( is her best freind.
All she has to do is accuse you. You don't actually have to do anything wrong.

April 23, 2008, 10:16 AM
1) Consult a real attorney, not a bunch of anonymous folks on the internet.
2) Don't do anything that could possibly be misconstrued as illegal. If you might have to explain it to the police, DON'T.
3) Learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

April 23, 2008, 10:22 AM
If you touch the laptop or the car without consulting an attorney, you will likely lose your firearms rights forever.

April 23, 2008, 11:10 AM
It's a laptop? and a Mosin Nagant? Both are easily replaceable.

Keep records of the documentation, if it continues to bother you sue her in Small Claims court for the money she owes you plus interest.

DO NOT go into her car even if you have the key. If that laptop is worth over 1000 dollars, that's instant grand theft and you illegally entering a car. If it's got your name on the title, sue her for money owed on it.

That's probably your best line of action.

April 23, 2008, 11:29 AM
Get a lawyer and get advice from them. Don't ask here...those of us who are attorneys aren't going to give legal advice here, and you shouldn't be listening to anyone else who says anything but "get a lawyer."


April 23, 2008, 11:38 AM
I would move on. Learn the lesson.and don;t do it again.

Otherwise, consult a lawyer.

Every state is different.

April 23, 2008, 11:49 AM
Take the laptop and tow the car if has your name on the title. If she wants to play dirty, play dirty. After all you have a receipt for the laptop. And if you bought it in one of the big box stores it probably has the sn on it.
I don't know the PA statute number but I believe you are within you rights to reposes stolen property.
Any PA residents chime in on this?

April 23, 2008, 12:08 PM
After all you have a receipt for the laptop.

Which only proves that he paid for it, not that it is his. Taking it could be OK, or it could end up being some sort of crazy felony. Only a lawyer in his area will be able to say with any certainty.

Get a lawyer to help you sort this out.

April 23, 2008, 12:33 PM
Which only proves that he paid for it, not that it is his.
Not to split hairs but if you pay for something doesn't it make it his?
Anything else is just he said she said.

My original post was my opinion, I suggested looking up the PA statue. Or if someone from PA could point him in the right direction.

April 23, 2008, 12:53 PM
Not to split hairs but if you pay for something doesn't it make it his?

Not if it is considered a gift. Which could throw it into he said/she said in court.

By far, the safest thing to do is to obtain a lawyer, get a quality legal opinion, and seek redress through that method. Any personal contact which could be seen as threatening is likely to get the OP in far more trouble than he is bargaining for.

Dave in PA
April 23, 2008, 01:20 PM
Actually, you might be able to talk to a Magistrate in your town about this situation. Tell them you are trying to recover your property or payment for same and need to know the best way to go about it.

April 23, 2008, 01:23 PM
Each state has its own rules on self help remedies. Usually, you are entitled to self help if it won't breach the peace. However, I think it is better to know for sure. I'd either consult an attorney, or just sue her in small claims court. They are usually very cheap and informal and you can represent yourself. You have great proof, and she has none.

April 23, 2008, 02:53 PM
You could call that phone number on Judge Marilyn Minion or Judge Joe Brown...

I went through a similar relationship change but far more expensive. If I had to, I would pay twice that much to get rid of her again.
some lessons cost more than others. you could spend a lot of time, energy, and even a little more money fighting this one.
live, learn, move on.

lee n. field
April 23, 2008, 03:33 PM
By far, the safest thing to do is to obtain a lawyer, get a quality legal opinion, and seek redress through that method.

Which is going to end up costing more than the stuff is worth.

It's just a laptop. It's just a Mosin-Nagant. If it's such a big deal to have them back, it sounds like there might be other issues.

You lost this one. Let the stuff go.

April 23, 2008, 03:37 PM
This looks like a cheap lesson to me. Walk away and never look back. When they sell the car or need the license have them send paperwork and sign off on it immediatly.

highlander 5
April 23, 2008, 03:39 PM
sounds like a job for Judge Judy.

April 23, 2008, 03:45 PM
Total amount of stuff ~10k. A drop in the bucket in the long run... =\

SomeKid - Rifle was gift, true. Worried about liability
- Laptop, 'steal' it back? Crossed my mind
- Signed car over to her name after she lied to me about getting a ticket and needed to register/insure, etc. Ticket was a lie.

Lee n. field - I definitely hear that and have been told this by some wise people

2nd 41 - Rifle was bought on gunbroker and FFL'd to me.

RoadkingLarry - Concerned about that too but will not post anything further in case she finds this thread.

tinygnat219 - I guess I won't be entering the car!

never retreat - curious but didn't find anything about reclaiming stolen property. Car is titled in her name now though, even though it was done so under a false pretense =(

Dave in PA - I was thinking about that route, ask if I could get a warrant for the police to enforce to retrieve my property for me. =)

Highlander 5 - Is it true that both parties are paid to appear on that show? I heard that some where.

highlander 5
April 23, 2008, 04:17 PM
I think there is a fund that if the judgment goes in favor of the plaintiff the amount for the laptop is deducted and the rest is split between plaintiff and defendant. This may be true of the People's Court also. They both have toll free numbers to call and you got nothing to lose by pleading your case to them

April 23, 2008, 04:31 PM
Where im at the laptop is a civil matter. You will have to sue to get it or monetary compensation. You will have to go to court and get a judge to sign an order to seize the property. Here the police are not going to go get it based on your credit card statement.

Personally i would use the courts and quit calling. She might swear out a warrant or get a protection order if she can articulate you are threatning or harassing her.

April 23, 2008, 04:41 PM
Hello, small claims court.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 23, 2008, 05:10 PM
Do I need a judge to get me a warrant for the seizure of the property?

The answer is YES.

1. Step One: Ask nicely. (You did that).
2. If step #1 fails, SUE!

You want to file a small claims action in your local small claims court, either with or without a lawyer, and recite that you want either the computer (replevin), or judgment for it's full replacement value (state what that amount is), and then also sue for court costs. Have this served on her with a private process server. Go to court on your hearing date, WITH all of your documentary evidence and witnesses if you have them. When the judge says "go", you tell your story. Judge decides. If you're not sure on how this works, tune into Fox weekdays, and take a gander at Judge Milian, Christina, Alex, Joe Brown, or Judy. I wish you the best - VERY common situation. Forget about the Mosin - a gift is a gift, and the judge won't care. Her keeping property that was NOT a gift is different - the judge will likely order it turned over to you (called a "replevin order"), OR give you a money judgment. Then you're faced with trying to collect. In fact, what most small claims judges do in this situation is put in the order "You shall give back the computer within 10 days, or, if you don't, then judgment is automatically entered in favor of the plaintiff for $X.xx.", which should be replacement value, not fair market value. Don't hold your breath on trying to actually get her to give it back. The judge will NOT utilize the sheriff's office to enforce the replevin order unless you make a special motion (citation for contempt), and probably move to regular court, not small claims court, for such a small value item, in all likelihood, depending on the law of the state you're in, and local customs. So if she doesn't cough it up voluntarily, then a money judgment is the best you will do. You can then try a bank garn or wage garn to squeeze it out of her.

P.S. It's neither here nor there, but I get a kick out of the TV court shows (most of them), and their "man on the street" cases - the best judges over the years have been, in order from best to worst, in terms of their fairness and making the correct legal ruling:

The Good:
--Marilyn Milian (don't even THINK about fooling with this redhead!)
--Larry Doughtery (The Texas Justice guy)
--Joe Brown
--Judge Alex
--Lynn Toler (the Divorce Court lady)
The So-So:
--the old Wapner and Ed Koch
The Bad Judges:
--Judge Judy

Henry Bowman
April 23, 2008, 05:19 PM
Call a PA lawyer. The cost of a half-hour consutation will be nothing compared to the value of proper legal advice.

Art Eatman
April 23, 2008, 05:52 PM
1. Lawyer up.

2. Discuss it at APS, but not THR. This is a civil affair, and has nothing to do with guns as guns and the laws insofar as being on-topic for THR.

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