Getting a stolen rifle, recovered by ATF, back?


PDA






rodentrancher
April 6, 2013, 11:32 AM
Greetings, kind gentlemen. Was hoping someone has dealt with something similar to the following and could offer advice:

In late 2011 I took a Ruger #1 I owned to a FFL-licensed gunsmith for some work. In January 2012 that smith was burgled and many firearms, including mine, were taken. I filed the appropriate reports with local police promptly. My rifle was recovered within a few weeks. Unfortunately, since the items were stolen from a FFL, local law enforcement turned the case over to ATF.

I spoke to the ATF agent in charge several times during the spring and summer of 2012. I was told that the burglars were thought to be associated with a larger gang, and that my rifle would be held for evidence until investigations and trials were complete - probably a year to 18 months.

I continued to check on the issue every few months, however, the agent in question has ceased returning my calls and emails. At this point it's been 15 months since the theft, and I've had to move to a different state, which will complicate any legal action I attempt.

Note that this rifle was never used in a crime (who the hell uses a Ruger #1 in a stickup), and I can easily prove I'm the original purchaser. It seems unlikely to be a critical piece of evidence in any investigation. I am beginning to be somewhat skeptical of the explanations I've received from ATF.

Any suggestions will be gratefully considered.

If you enjoyed reading about "Getting a stolen rifle, recovered by ATF, back?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Trent
April 6, 2013, 11:34 AM
If it is being held for evidence, it could be awhile. However... I'd be on the phone with the ATF district office demanding answers...

boom boom
April 6, 2013, 11:37 AM
Start with calling your U.S. House Representative and/or your state's two U.S. Senators before initiating legal action. They have people that can call the ATF middle managers to get some response. It's cheap and free and works some of the time.

rodentrancher
April 6, 2013, 11:48 AM
Start with calling your U.S. House Representative and/or your state's two U.S. Senators before initiating legal action. They have people that can call the ATF middle managers to get some response. It's cheap and free and works some of the time.
Excellent idea, thank you!

rodentrancher
April 6, 2013, 11:49 AM
If it is being held for evidence, it could be awhile. However... I'd be on the phone with the ATF district office demanding answers...
Good idea, but unfortunately I've tried it - they just refer me to the investigating agent, the one who no longer returns my calls.

mgkdrgn
April 6, 2013, 11:50 AM
When you run into a "stonewall" like this, I see that you have two choices.

1) Ratchet up the heat ... move up the food chain in the ATF until you get satisfaction. Be polite, be respectful, but be PERSISTENT. As in like calling / mailing weekly. Give the next rung on the ladder 2 or 3 weeks, then move up to the next rung. CC all the lower rungs every time you make contact.

2) Go nuclear early. Write your two US Senators and your congressman. CC everyone you've been in contact with up till now. Again, polite, respectful, but persistent.

Sebastian the Ibis
April 6, 2013, 01:15 PM
Sign up for a pacer account here:

http://www.pacer.gov/

It is not free but the cost is minimal, and I don't think they even charge you until you have run up a $10.00 tab. You can check the status of the Federal Criminal case and see when and if there has been a resolution. Chances are an AUSA is running the show now and the ATF is in a holding pattern waiting to get called in to testify.

Call the AUSA and say you were a victim whose property was taken, and you want to know if you will be called to testify or can write a statement for sentencing (this will get you on his good side). Also say you are interested in getting your property back, and ask about the procedure for getting it.

BSA1
April 6, 2013, 08:19 PM
Welcome to the CRIMINAL Justice System. 15 months is not an excessive time limit in a criminal case. (Just look at how long it has been with Zimmerman). Even after the trial there are sure to have appeals filed which will further drag the case out. Then you are going to have the anti-gun Federal Government deciding when, if at all, they will release and return your firearm to you. (And they will be looking for any excuse they can not to).

My thoughts....you are looking at three years minimium.

Did you file a insurance claim? Either way I would relax, take a chill pill and write the gun off as a loss on your taxes.

zorro45
April 7, 2013, 06:08 PM
I would file a report w/ the Justice Department's Inspector General, in effect your property has been stolen twice. I had to do this once with the USPS and amazingly got results in 10 days.

DesertRat
April 7, 2013, 06:35 PM
Did you file a insurance claim? Either way I would relax, take a chill pill and write the gun off as a loss on your taxes.

Interesting advice. Have you bothered to read the Internal Revenue Code on this matter?

tnxdshooter
April 7, 2013, 06:36 PM
I think I'd lawyer up and threaten to sue. ATF doesn't need anymore bad publicity and they will probably buckle to your demands.

Sent from my mind using ninja telepathy.

joeschmoe
April 7, 2013, 06:39 PM
ATF = Always Think Forfeiture

The program urges agents to focus on seizing private property.
http://www.asmainegoes.com/content/atf-motto-always-think-forfeiture

http://boingboing.net/2008/06/09/atf-leatherman-tool.html

rjhelicopter
April 7, 2013, 06:55 PM
I had 11 long guns stolen ,but were recovered. The guns were sent to a crime lab for ballistic testing and the crime lab engraved a code on each gun. It took almost 2 years of fighting in the court system to get them back. The time of recovery to getting them back nearly 4 years.

TRX
April 7, 2013, 08:12 PM
> crime lab engraved a code on each gun

Depending on what and where, I'd be tempted to call it vandalism...

45_auto
April 7, 2013, 08:44 PM
You can call it what you want, but the end result would still be that you'd have 4 guns with a crime-lab engraved code on them and nothing you can do about it.

BSA1
April 9, 2013, 10:05 AM
Interesting advice. Have you bothered to read the Internal Revenue Code on this matter?

What is so interesting about filing a insurance claim on stolen property at the time of loss or when it discovered?

The gun was stolen and it has not been returned to the owner so he still out possession of the gun. In fact there is nothing so far to suggest it will even be returned to him.

No I have not read the Internal Revenue Code but I know from filing my income tax returns for many, many years that uninsured property losses are tax deductable. You might be surprised to find out what you can claim on your taxes if you consult a good tax preparer.

DesertRat
April 9, 2013, 11:03 AM
No I have not read the Internal Revenue Code but I know from filing my income tax returns for many, many years that uninsured property losses are tax deductable. You might be surprised to find out what you can claim on your taxes if you consult a good tax preparer.

Understood. My only suggestion would be to read Pub 547 prior to suggesting it is deductible, as there are rules and limitations. In particular the AGI threshold which would limit the deductibility of any loss to the extent the loss itself exceeds 10% of AGI. From Pub 547: You must reduce your total casualty or theft loss by 10% of your adjusted gross income. Apply this rule to personal*use property after you reduce each loss by $100 (the $100 rule).

I do agree with you 100%, he should consult a tax professional to look at the overall tax picture and the relevant facts and circumstances. As for my background I am a CPA and that is just my $0.02 on the matter

OilyPablo
April 9, 2013, 11:12 AM
Contact you local news TV station. Most have a helper section that allows them to air good deeds. Reunited a family. Found a lost wallet. Your dog made it all the back from Florida on his own. That kind of story

I'm sure they will help you find your rifle. :cuss:

OK sorry, bad joke. Like most bureaucratic garbage, climb the food chain.

medalguy
April 9, 2013, 01:16 PM
Contact your US senator, or house rep secondly, hopefully he/she is somewhat pro-gun.

Believe me, agencies really hate getting Senatorial or really any congressional inquiries, and they do indeed turn the heat up instantly. I've done this twice and received almost immediate contact from the offending agencies, and fast resolution to my problems.

Deanimator
April 9, 2013, 01:47 PM
I continued to check on the issue every few months, however, the agent in question has ceased returning my calls and emails.
That's unprofessional conduct. I'd file an official complaint against the agent for misconduct.

mgkdrgn
April 9, 2013, 04:08 PM
... the crime lab engraved a code on each gun.

That is what I thought the serial number was for ... go figure ...

Deltaboy
April 9, 2013, 10:15 PM
CALL your Federal government reps and let them work for you.

Bubbles
April 10, 2013, 09:29 AM
Have you contacted the FFL from whom the guns were stolen to find out if he knows the status of the case?

MisterMike
April 10, 2013, 10:58 AM
Not legal advice, but some practical advice: Try to identify which U.S. Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case and ask to speak with the Victim/Witness Coordinator for that office. You may be able to find out the status of the case over the phone. In any event, you want to send a letter to the U.S. Attorney, identifying yourself as a victim of the crime that they are prosecuting. They are then required to keep you apprised of the status of the case.

It's possible that the case--if there is one--may be prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the DOJ, in which case you'd go through the same procedure, but with the Criminal Division (located in Washington, D.C.). FWIW, investigative agencies are not generally set up to do much other than investigate the crime. Dealing with victims is the responsibility of the prosecuting agency.

If you enjoyed reading about "Getting a stolen rifle, recovered by ATF, back?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!