At long last a stolen gun comes home!


Eric F
May 27, 2011, 08:12 PM
Lets review in late August 2008 My truck was broken into and with other stuff my custom built(by me) RIA 1911 38 super was stolen. exactly 7 days later it was recovered. The police and a detective tried to get the gun back to me several times. The blocking factors were,
1. the youth that got caught with it rolled over on his other gang friends
2. several continuations searches court dates
3. the asst. commonwealth attorney hence forth called Mrs. S
The helping factors THE Commonwealth Attorney and his personal investigator and the arresting officer.

So here goes the rest of the story

7 days plus 3 months after the gun was recovered, the youth went to juvenile court. I never testified and the results were not public but I was told by that prosecutor an agreement was reached and he would look into photo evidence for my gun and he would get it back to me in a few weeks. Well he left his job and that never happened.

6 months later there were 4 arrests in connection to my gun. It was all the local faction of "the bloods" 4 arraignments later and another year and 3 months court dates were set. Court cases were heard appeals were heard for the first two criminals. All through this Mrs S kept saying I will get you your property soon maybe in another 2 months. Since the court is a few blocks up the road and she frequently did not return my calls I started going there every morning I could and sat at her door. The last case was heard in mid June 2010 as a result the last 2 bad guys were going to get heard together. on a last minute deal the one rolled over on the other and he was found guilty. I was told that was it I could have it back after their appeals if they filed.

In Va you get 30 days to file appeal from the sentencing. Mrs S insisted it was 45 days and I thought after a year and a half what’s another 2 months. Then she continued sentencing 2 times making it out to November 2010. I asked her several times about when I could get my stuff back. Again 45 days was mentioned. At 30 days I looked online for any sign of appeal none was found. So I called her on day 32 she said it had not been 45 days and I needed to wait. On day 45 I called no answer I left a message. I called every business day for 8 days no no answer. I then called THE Commonwealth Attorney and told him all that happened he assured me I would get called that day. Well 3 days later she called me so we are now at day 56 after sentencing Mrs S said she needed another 2 weeks to verify no appeals were filed. On the 14th day I called again I went to her office I did this every day for 2 weeks to no results. So now its 84 days after sentencing. I called THE Commonwealth Attorney he was not happy at all he said his personal investigator was going to call me in 10 minutes. Well it was more like 3 minutes. I was on the conference call with THE Commonwealth Attorney and his investigator for 1 hour explaining the whole thing. They were very upset angry and embarrassed as it turns out they never needed my gun as photo evidence was all that was ever necessary. They both seemed very genuine in their concerns and I was assured Mrs S would be dealt with on a very sever basis.

5 days later after doing paper work and release forms I got my 1911 back.

my gun was gone for 2 years and 8 months.

Aside from an apology I got nothing no restitution for damage on the gun. Not as a direct result of my case but due to several things Mrs S is no longer employed by THE Commonwealth Attorneys Office.

I have learned many lessons, 1 I will never again leave my gun in a car. Concealed means concealed if I do my part no matter where I am no one needs to know what I I avoid places I can not have it or well figure the alternative out for yourself.

I know this has been long but if just 1 person reads this and says "I dont think my gun will stay in my car today" I think its been worth the space.

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May 27, 2011, 08:16 PM
Wow, glad you got it back! All we need now is a picture of the happy reunion!

Eric F
May 27, 2011, 08:55 PM
here is the box it came home in"

Sorry I saw the box had the serial number on it. Also had a few LEO and Suspect names(probably not cool to post)

Eric F
May 27, 2011, 08:56 PM
and how it looked when I opened the box

Ignition Override
May 27, 2011, 09:05 PM
That would make most people want to give up. Well-done.

We need many more people like you to squeeze the system and make it more efficient, if that is the word.

If the gun was not needed in more than one trial, I don't understand why the former prosecutor felt a need to hold Your Property hostage for many months.

justin 561
May 27, 2011, 09:09 PM
Hey, at least you got your rounds back.

Eric F
May 27, 2011, 09:19 PM
dont be fooled I got 3 empties

Eric F
May 27, 2011, 09:21 PM
I don't understand why the former prosecutor felt a need to hold Your Property hostage for many months. Anti-gun person and basically she could because of the way things are

May 27, 2011, 11:35 PM
Why don't you file a complaint wit the state attorney general for misconduct on the part of "Mrs S", or have an attorney file a request to sue her individually?

Eric F
May 27, 2011, 11:57 PM
That costs money and time I am short on both. She has lost her position there so what would the point be to it? I have already gotten all I think I would ever get. The complaint of taking for ever to give my property back was dealt with. I do not think much could be gained now.

May 28, 2011, 12:21 AM
Yes, i strongly agree that I would not leave it in the car either

May 28, 2011, 12:51 AM
Ever had your car broken into, your stereo stolen and been happy about it?

I have.

About 15 years ago my car was broken into right outside my door, about 8' from my door in fact. One of the windows was broken, my stereo and a nice SOG knife were gone. What the thief didn't take was a 4" S&W 629 and a Remington 870. I was so happy I almost cried. I did thank God for making the thief blind.

I've never left a gun in a car since.

May 28, 2011, 12:52 AM
Glad that you got it back. Is there any damage to the pistol? The pic was pretty vague.

A friend of mine had a classic Marlin 30-30 stolen from his apartment. I have a feeling he'll never see it again.

Eric F
May 28, 2011, 06:00 AM
there was some very minor rurface rust on the rear sight and for some reason the grip safety was right on the edge of not working at all. It was very very dry. After a very good cleaning most of the rust was gone I will beed a new plunger as the old one is a bit rough from surface rust but still in good functional condition I took the grip safety out and stretched the metal a little and smoothed it out with a file and replaced it so now that works a new recoil spring and buffer and now all works fine. it does have a few scratches in the finish but not the metal, so I will roll with it for a while. Before it left I was looking at getting the frame matt hard chromed and the slide in black nickle I think I will leave it as now
oh and I am happy to carry it daily again.

May 28, 2011, 06:25 AM
What the thief didn't take was a 4" S&W 629 and a Remington 870. I was so happy I almost cried. I did thank God for making the thief blind.
Why, not at all. He was probably a felon and knew he'd be breaking the law by handling the guns. :evil:

Glad OP got the gun back. Too bad about the damage, but at least it's back in proud service.

Terry, 230RN

May 28, 2011, 06:55 AM
I applaud you for being a very patient and persistent man when it came to getting YOUR property from the authorities

May 28, 2011, 09:54 AM
Glad you got your gun back. What an ordeal.

I'm not that familiar with the legal process, but, besides collecting fingerprints, photos and ballistics evidence (which I'm not even sure is all that reliable), why do exactly do they need your gun?

May 28, 2011, 03:08 PM
I had a 1911 stolen almost exactly a year ago. (Tucson, AZ) No report from the police on its recovery yet. Are they supposed to notify if recovered, or do I need to check with them occasionaly?

May 28, 2011, 04:05 PM
Filing a complaint with the state attny gen might even result in her getting disbarred, if enough witnesses/associates feel she was malicious in what she did, and abused the powers entrusted to her. That complaint filing is FREE. You just call them up and make them start an investigation. I don't think they'd be able to avoid it, or they would suffer bad press (the press loves it when the govt can be found to "do nothing").

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 28, 2011, 04:06 PM
"I dont think my gun will stay in my car today," or any day for that matter!

When I am going somewhere where a gun is illegal to take (like to the next state over, into federal buildings, schools, post offices, etc) I find it just as easy to leave it home and carry an alternative weapon that is essentially a mixture of hot pepper juice in a two-shot 90 MPH burst system from Kimber.

Yes, I would rather have my daily carry, but I will abide by the laws, even though I do not agree with them all.

May 28, 2011, 04:43 PM
In August, 2010, my home was burglarized and five guns were taken. One was a 1996 build nickel plated SIG P220 that has just been back a week from a complete refurb at SIG. That pistol was recovered a week later in a traffic stop, and has been in the Gwinnett County evidence locker ever since. I have talked to everyone up to the county DA, but can get little information. I was told in September that it could be weeks or years before it was returned. In fact one ADA seemed to be quite pleased that they wouldn't release it. She actually said that as long as they had it, I would shoot anyone with it.

May 28, 2011, 05:27 PM

I read one about a guy who was visiting his family in another state so he put his expensive stuff in the house in case his car got broken into.

When they returned they found the house had been burglarized but his car was left un-touched in the driveway.


May 29, 2011, 01:49 AM
Be glad you’re in Virginia and not Los Angeles. The only way you can get a firearm returned once LAPD gets their hands on it is to file a law suit that will cost more in attorney fees than to replace the gun. If you do get it back, it will be so mutilated you wouldn’t want it anyway. And that’s only if you can find out they recovered it. They will consistently lie that they didn’t recover it unless they need your testimony. Not an opinion, official LAPD policy.

May 29, 2011, 02:26 AM
Do any of the LEOs on here have any input as to how to best recover one of these firearms? Also, why are firearms so uniquely difficult for their legal owners to recover? A stolen car (if recovered) is swiftly returned- why are firearms any different?

May 29, 2011, 04:59 AM
Congrats on the recovery!

My dad has a similar story. He left his .357 revolver in the glovebox of his VW Bug parked at mission beach in San Diego in the mid 80s and came back to a shattered window and a missing gun. He got a call over 15 yrs later from the Anchorage PD saying that the gun was recovered in a bank robbery all the way up in Alaska! They shipped it back and he has it today. The only crappy part of the story is that he has about 10 .357 revolvers and we are not sure which one is the one from the story!

May 29, 2011, 07:55 AM
Anchorage PD will still have the number of the gun and incident report still on file in archives.

May 29, 2011, 08:47 AM
Do any of the LEOs on here have any input as to how to best recover one of these firearms?

I have spent my entire career in the (rural) South ~ nuff said. Just about all the officers, departments, and prosecutors I have worked with have been pro-2nd Amendment and very supportive of gun rights. I am sure that is not the case everywhere. But, in the South, its pretty common.

Guns are generally returned as expeditiously as possible to the legal owner after a case is finished. The general exception would be a perpetrator's weapon that they used in a crime which is confiscated when the case goes to trial. This is not inclusive where a person is found innocent.

If you are in an area that does not support your rights or is slow to take action. You just have to be persistent. You can always get an attorney involved - but in that you have to weigh the cost. Although not related to this specific thread, I have previously posted about an internet gun deal that went bad I was involved in. The seller lied about the gun's condition and then would not take a return. I had a good civil case - but traveling a 1000 miles to another state, hiring an attorney, lost work, hotels and meals considered, I would have spent far more pursuing it than I would have ever got back.

The most protracted case I ever worked was in the early 90s. We had an auction in our county where a number of guns were listed. They were all run through NCIC and one came back with a "hit". It had been a bank guards personal weapon that was taken during a robbery in California back in the 70s. It was impossible to determine how many hands or how many states the gun had been through. The weapon was returned to the victims family.

The moral of that story, is have your serial numbers stored in a safe place. Make sure they are correctly entered if your gun(s) are stolen - you never know when or where they will turn up.

May 29, 2011, 10:38 AM
Viper - if the county isn't working with you to get your property returned, perhaps a call to the state AG is in order.

May 30, 2011, 06:37 AM
Viper- As great as modern technology is nothing gets results like a personal visit or a letter from a lawyer delivered certified mail(get a signature). Check your local and state laws for limits on evidense. Some places have limits and some have limits that specifically exempt "weapons".

Rocketmedic- Firearms aren't any different than any other piece of property in some area. In other areas they get special exemptions from laws requiring them to give "evidense" back to it's proper owner in an expedient manner. Most of these laws were written by people who are squeamish about guns. There are also several police organizations that have campaigned to be able to hold onto guns longer. So guns get taken off the evidense time limit bill to allow for the extra time needed to trace firarms involved in crimes but no other special protection for gun owners gets enacted because it's simply not a priority.

May 30, 2011, 02:07 PM
Thanks. The Georgia AG is a good suggestion as is the personal visit. I am an ex-lawyer bit that doesn't seem to mean much. A couple of the county police officers have made an effort to do something, but they hit a stone wall at the DA's office.

May 30, 2011, 03:09 PM
I had an M1 carbine stolen in1988. In California if you arnt in law enforcement dont expect to ever see your stuff again

Black Butte
May 30, 2011, 04:02 PM
A very worthwhile story, thank you for sharing. Leaving guns unattended in cars is a bad idea, they can be stolen and used to commit crimes.

Hocka Louis
May 30, 2011, 07:29 PM
U r a nice guy and waited too long to escalate if only by getting an atorney letter. So glad u got your wonderful gun back!

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