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Posted: 3/24/2002 9:28:59 AM EDT
4 years ago there was a break in at my house shortly after I went to bed. I had been on the couch watching t.v. and left my loaded carry gun on the floor covered by my pants and partially by the couch. (This was before I had kids!) It was a used S&W 4006. I had a decent amount of $ invested in gunsmithing enhancements. They also stole my wallet, my wife's purse, and a 12 pack of Pepsi! I went to bed at 12:30am and by 2:00am they were using my ATM card 5 miles away! Scary stuff. I spent a lot of time looking out windows for awhile! Now the update... I got a call at 3:00am this morning from the Sheriff's department. (I live in Fort Wayne, IN) They said that my stolen gun was recovered in Milwaukee and that is all they knew. They said they or the Milwaukee department would call me in a few days with more information. At this point I have no idea if it was used in a crime, discovered at a pawn shop/gun store, or in what condition it is in. I am a little concerned how I will feel if it was used in a violent crime but I will update on what I here.

My question to the group is where do we go from here? The insurance reimbursed me for the gun years ago. So what is the chain of events now? I thought someone told me when all this happened that the gun would go to the insurance company who would have to pay to destroy it. I think they also said that you might be able to buy the gun back from the insurance company for little or nothing to save them the cost of destroying it. Anyone have any knowledge or opinions on this? I would probably never sell it because no one knows where it has been, but there is some desire on my part to get it home and feel a little vindicated. I just hope they can somehow trace it back to the original crime.

Thanks in advance for comments.

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/24/2002 9:34:16 AM EDT
This doesnt apply to you but, isnt the statue of limitations seven years? If so, and you had a gun stolen, and the insurance company paid you for it, would you not be able to keep your property if found after the seven years?

Link Posted: 3/24/2002 9:36:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2002 9:39:33 AM EDT by markm]
Contact your insurance co. and let them know that you want it back.

find out what you have to do. you will definitely have to buy it back.

I had a 1911 stolen, then recovered and i had to jump through a few hoops to get it out of Chandler PD's property. I however, did not get reimbursed by insurance because it was stolen from my vehicle.

i would suspect that the insurance co. will give you some documentation that states that you bought it back from them. you should be able to present this to the police dept. to which you originally filed the report with. And they should release the pistol to you.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 3/24/2002 9:39:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By markm:
Contact your insurance co. and let them know that you want it back.

find out what you have to do. you will definitely have to buy it back.

I had a 1911 stolen, then recovered and i had to jump through a few hoops to get it out of Chandler PD's property. I however, did not get reimbursed by insurance because it was in my vehicle.



Was there any damage done to your 1911?
Link Posted: 3/24/2002 9:39:44 AM EDT
I think the best advice would be to call the police department tomorrow morning and find out what you can. Then call your insurance company and find out what your options are. If they allow you to buy the gun back it will surely be below market value, probably well below market value. I would first find out what kind of condition the gun was in before you shelled out any cash though.

Personally, I wouldn't care if it had been used in a violent crime or not since it is only an inanimate object. I'd just want my stuff back.
Link Posted: 3/24/2002 9:45:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/24/2002 10:12:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By WallJJ:
They also stole my wallet, my wife's purse, and a 12 pack of Pepsi!



If the insurance company never reimbersed you for these items, then I would keep the pistol and call it even.
Link Posted: 3/24/2002 12:26:49 PM EDT
Well I can tell this is going to be fun. I called and after being transferred a couple times I was basically told to call back again tomorrow during the regular business hours to talk to someone with more experience on firearm issues. I guess the 24 hour "night crew" had no idea. This is with USAA by the way who is very good on most issues. Any chance the gun will get returned to me persoanlly without having to notify the insurance?

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 1:32:13 PM EDT
I called the insurance company again today to try to get someone with experience on dealing with firearms. They didn't seem to know much either and were almost scared to answer any general questions without specific knowledge of the condition and circumstances casusing the recovery. She seem to think that the only two options would be to "donate" it to the Milwaukee police department (I assume to be destroyed??) or possibly pay them full value back for it that I received! Doesn't this seem odd? I paid premiums to get their service which was given, but why would they expect me to pay brand new gun price for a used gun I haven't seen in over 4 years that has probably been used in god knows how many crimes and is probably in very poor condition. Wouldn't it serve both parties better if they allowed me to give them a severely cut amount for the gun? At least they would get something. They can't seriously expect I would give them the money would they??? ARGH.

Any insurance guys out there that have a clue about how these situations are usually handled?

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 3:14:20 PM EDT
Are you saying that if you want *their* gun back, they want you to pay them back what they gave you when you filed the claim? If so, I'd think that would be fair, don't you?

You could try a lowball offer, but I doubt they'd accept it. Why should they? They held up their end of your contract when they paid you, and became the owner of that gun.

Not their fault (or yours) that it took gov.org 4 years to find the gun again. Would it be any different if it was a week ago?
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 3:16:41 PM EDT
The obvious thing, to me anyway, is that they (USAA) might want back what they reimbursed you for it in the first place, assuming it's not damaged. If the police department called you, as opposed to USAA, they probably think you're the rightful owner. Otherwise, it seems like they would have called the insurance company.

If the police department is willing to return it to you, USAA would probably rather not even know about it. They'll probably spend more time hand-wringing and discussing the problem than they could get from you. How's that for a rationalization?

As I also use USAA, I should probably insist you don't bother them, as it would make my premiums go up to waste all that time over such a trivial matter. It would probably cost me $.000000000000000000000001 next year.
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 4:40:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WallyJJ:
They can't seriously expect I would give them the money would they??? ARGH.
Jamie



Sure they are, and they are right. They re-imbursed you for the loss. If you recover your loss, they deserve their money back. Same deal if your car is stolen. You get reimbursed. If your car is recovered, its owned by the insurance company. If you want the car, you have to give them back the money.

But, if you want to buy it back (gun or car), you get to deduct any damage to the item. You may even get to reduce the payment for additional depreciation (but I'm not sure about this).

But, all this aside, I don't understand how/who got the insurance company involved. Although what you did was the 'right' thing, I would have just accepted the gun from the police and never mentioned anything to the insurance company. Did you transfer ownership to them by filling out federal/state gun forms? Did the police contact them?

I would also think that you could get stuck in the middle of some 'situations'. Although the insurance company owns the gun because they paid you for it, if they got physical possession of it and someone stole it out of their offices, who would the state/feds come after? They still show you as the legal owner. Potential of a lot of 'hairy' scenarios here.

Link Posted: 3/25/2002 5:03:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/25/2002 5:05:15 PM EDT by GreenTalon]
A few years ago I had a Glock 23 stolen from my car. State Farm Ins. paid me $550 I think (replacement cost less deductible). One year passed without seeing it. I went to local range to do some shooting and saw someone in the next lane had a similar Glock. I got to talking with him and he let me hold it, yep it was mine (I had memorized the serial # and started checking at all the pawn shops).

Long story short, I pretended not to recognize it as mine, (he bought it cheap at a bar) got his info from the range and went home to call the police, with his name and address. 2 weeks later I get a call that they have my gun.

I go by the Police annex and pick it up. I wrote State Farm a letter explaining the recovery of the handgun and offered $400 for it, cause its more used and none of the magazines were recovered with it, yet it had sentimental value to me because of the strange story that went with it now.

They excepted the offer, I cut them a check, and I still own it to this day. It was that simple. Your Mileage May Vary.

Steven L.
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 5:11:54 PM EDT
Get your gun back, and THEN deal with the insurance company. Remember, possession is nine tenths of the law! With it back in your possession, you will be able to bargain from a position of strength.

That's outstanding that it eventually showed up.

My uncle's gun case got cleaned out some years ago. A couple of dozen guns, stolen out of his house while he was at work and the house was unoccupied. The worst part: One of the guns stolen was his registered, transferrable Ingram Mac 11-9!

None have reappeared as of yet.

CJ
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 5:14:25 PM EDT
Why tell the insurance company anything?
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 5:21:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/25/2002 5:24:47 PM EDT by Kaliburz]
Four years? And you haven't seen it to judge it's condition......


If you do tell them, it might be just worth 'salvage'.
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 5:29:10 PM EDT
Let me set the record straight for a second... I do understand that USAA would need compensated in some manner if I do ask for the gun back. I do not intend to swindle them out of anything. My point is that since they get nothing if they dont sell it to me (they may actually have to pay to have it destroyed) then instead of asking me to pay a sum that would obviously be unacceptable they let me pay a smaller amount. Both sides happy. Otherwise both sides will be upset. Just seems strange. I guess my analogy would be if I had a very new car and it was stolen and used for drug runs, border chases, etc... in an unappropriate manner then shows up 4 years later, do you think I should pay the exact same for it in this condition with this history as what they gave for it when it was still almost new, only had a few miles, and still had the new car smell?

I just think it is wierd they would put me in an unpossible situation and screw us both.

Also, the police may still notify the insurance, I don't know. They were just required to notify me. I guess on paper I am still the owner. That's why I am curious if they don't notify insurance and offer it to me directly if legally I can take it and not say anything else to the insurance company. Probably morally wrong but is it legally wrong?

Just please don't think I am out to screw them I just really would like to get it back but there is no way I can afford it for the price they would want. It would be easier to just buy a new gun with no history!

Thanks for the comments people.

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 5:40:24 PM EDT
we had a .38 stolen from my mom's office (we think it was a cleaning guy, who is/was a gangster) we are still waiting for it to be recovered. *very long jeapardy song!*
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 6:31:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WallyJJ:
I do not intend to swindle them out of anything.



I hope I didn't give you the impression I thought you were attempting to swindle them, nor was I suggesting that you to that.


Also, the police may still notify the insurance, I don't know. They were just required to notify me.


That would depend on 2 things.
1. Do they care?
2. Did you provide the name of the insurance company to them when you reported the loss?

In my case, when I reported my guns stolen, they just wanted a list of items and serial numbers. They didn't care one way or the other if anything was insured. I also seriously doubt that they would care one way or the other if I contacted the insurance company to let them know. If you decide not to tell the insurance company, and the gun is stolen again, you will not be able to claim it again. The insurance companies now have all this stuff computerized and they exchange the information on claim regularly.




I guess on paper I am still the owner. That's why I am curious if they don't notify insurance and offer it to me directly if legally I can take it and not say anything else to the insurance company. Probably morally wrong but is it legally wrong?



My guess is that they will give the gun back to you, since in the eyes of the state/fed gun agencies, you are the owner. HOWEVER, if you take the gun and don't notify the insurance company of the return, you are probably guilty of insurance fraud of some sort. (Talk about catch-22)!

I'd take the advice of a previous poster. Get the gun back from the police. That gets the registered gun owner problem out of the way. And like the poster said, possession is 9/10ths!
Then contact the insurance company and make them an offer to clear up the other ownership issue. Once the gun is in your hands, you can make it very expensive for the insurance company to get it from you. You know...ffl dealer exchange, who ever takes possession from the dealer would have to be licensed, (etc..what ever may apply in your state). But it can be made difficult if the insurance company doesn't accept your offer.

1. Get the gun back.
2. Check your policy. I'll bet many of the
issues are explained better there.
3. Notify the insurance company, per the policy,
of the guns return. Make them an offer for
it and include a 'gentle' statement that if
they don't want to sell it back, that they
will be incumbent to make FFL Dealer
arrangements for both buyer and seller, and
that they will be responsible for the
charges. That they will have to have a
properly licensed individual obtain the gun
from the dealer.

I'll bet that they don't want to go through all the BS, nor the BS to destroy the gun, and will accept any reasonalble offer you make.


Link Posted: 3/25/2002 6:57:03 PM EDT
Sweet, thanks for the comments neilfj. Makes sense. The only other concern I have is whether that Milwaukee agency will somehow get it delivered to the Allen COunty SHeriff's Department or whether I would have to have shipment arranged or go for a long drive. It would suck to pick it up then have to give it up. I guess I will have to ride it out a bit and see what happens. I will update then. Thanks everyone for the advise. This whole thing has stirred up a lot of memories. If I would have heard them in my house I had a Rossi .357 on the headboard that may have gotten me out of or into trouble depanding on how you look at it!

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/25/2002 8:11:20 PM EDT
Here's a thought...
First get the gun. Then send your insurance company a check for, oh how about $50. Write in the memo field "Recovered gun claim #whatever" and your account number underneath.

If they cash it, the gun is yours! (Don't forget to get a copy of the cancelled check for your "proof of purchase.")

I'm not a lawyer (but I play one on the internet), so do this at your own risk. (Sounds good to me, though.)
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 8:17:57 AM EDT
heh, good idea. They would probably cash the check then require me to pay the rest of the claim or lose the $150. Argh... in the last 4 1/2 years 50 people probably bought and sold my gun for about $50 and I (the responsible law abiding) have to pay the full amount back as if it were a new gun. Its like I am getting victimized again! haha, and no, I feel no real sympathy for insurance companies. After all I have spent thousands for them to sit around and wait to get a claim. Oh well, I guess that's the way it is supposed to work! :-)

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 8:33:44 AM EDT
Whatever you do, don't pay back the claim. The gun *was* stolen, and they paid you accordingly. You pay them premiums and deductables for this service. The gun belongs to them now, but you shouldn't pay them any more for it than you would pay a pawn shop. Get the gun in your posession, get someone on the phone who knows what they're talking about (it doesn't sound like you were talking to someone who knows how to handle recovered items), and make them a reasonable offer. I really can't see them declining. It's money for nothing, since they're gonna trash it anyway.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 9:43:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2002 9:45:33 AM EDT by FishKepr]
In 1989, someone broke into my house and stole a SW 645 and an AUG-SA (sigh). The insurance company covered the 'fair market value' of the loss and we have a safe now, but still...

In 1998, the police recovered the 645. We got the gun back from the police department and contacted the insurance company. They couldn't find the file on the claim after nine years so they just said, "Well, give us $50 and the gun is yours."

Now if they can just find the AUG...
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 9:54:15 AM EDT
Don't be suprised if your gun is trashed. I had a 1911a1 stolen by a meth head. He gave it to one of his buddies for dope. The buddy evidently liked silver guns because he used a belt sander to remove the parkerizing from my 95% Ithaca. Meth head was arrested a couple weeks later wearing my leather jacket stolen at the same time he stole the 1911a1. He sold out his buddy and police recovered the gun. I was disgusted when I saw it. Nothing could be salvaged. I cut it into pieces and trashed it.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 10:13:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 6:58:22 PM EDT
I'm not a Milwaukee cop, but I am a resident of the City of Milwaukee. I hope that this information can help you out in getting your gun back. BUT, keep one thing in mind-- move quickly and be ready to fight. The general policy up here is for most recovered firearms to be melted if they can get away with it. The Chief of Police is anti-gun; they tried to pass an ordnance banning handguns up here only a few years back. I'd have photocopies of your 4473 and any other aplicable insurance records and paperwork ready to prove ownership.

Milwaukee Police Department:

Homepage: www.milwaukeepolice.org

These two numbers may be the most helpful...

Obtaining an Offense Report: 414-935-7346
Police Evidence Property Information: 414-935-7547

I'm not sure what type of crime netted your gun, but I included those types that stood a good chance.....

Criminal Investigations Desk: 414-935-7302
Drug Crime Investigation Desk: 414-935-7411
Juvenile Crime Investigation: 414-935-7405
Vice Control Investigation: 414-935-7411

Incidentally, your gun is probably in the downtown (main) police station. The downtown police station is the "First District."

Milwaukee Police Department
First District
749 West State Street
Milwaukee, WI. 53233

First District specific phone numbers:

414-935-7213 for "non-emergency general inquiries"
414-935-7701 for the First District "community laision officer."

I hope this information helps you out. If you need anything else, just reply and I'll see what I can do for you.

Good luck,

Mike
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 1:35:40 PM EDT
Thanks a lot for the Milwaukee information. I tried to call the local department that originally called and no one would answer the phone. I tried one of the numbers you gave for the Milwaukee department and got through to a detective that is going to do some looking and see what is going on. I think he is going to call back later tonight. He basically said that if it was used in a crime it will need to be held of revidence for awhile and if not I would have to arrange for pickup then he mentioned probably using the mail! I hope that is the case because I really don't want to drive that far and then still possibly lose it to the insurance company if we can't work out a deal. I assume they would ship it to the local department here, right? I can't imagine a police department would ship it to a private gun store would they???

Thanks again.

Jamie
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 5:21:38 PM EDT
I wouldn't offer them anything unless the insurance claim documents you signed, or the check you cashed specifically indicated that if the property your claim related to was found, you owed USAA the amount of the claim.

Possession is 9/10 of the law and the ball is in their court to prove you owe them anything. I wouldn't even call them unless you found documentation stating you had agreed, as a condition to the settlement, to notify them in the event your property was found.

JAW
Link Posted: 3/28/2002 2:08:38 AM EDT
Having recovered stolen guns before, I have a little insight into this:

Since you got called at 3 in the morning, your weapon was most likely found on some dirtbag by a patrol officer, who checked it through the "Stolen Guns" file that most every officer has access to, similar to the "Wanted Person" and "stolen vehicle" files. Stolen Guns stay in this file forever, or until they are recovered.

The bad guy was most likely arrested. Statute of limitations does not apply becuase the crook committed the offense in the officers presence; a stolen gun is ALWAYS stolen, until it gets back to the lawful owner. The Patrol Officer most likely put the gun in evidence. Most PDs will contact the owner listed in the stolen gun entry to confirm that the weapon was actually stolen.

The Admin types who run evidence make arrangements to return the stolen property. We don't worry about the insurance companies; that is a civil matter between you and them, although the right thing to do would be to contact them and make arrangements to reimburse them a "fair" amount, especially if the weapon ever gets stolen again.
Link Posted: 3/28/2002 11:13:38 AM EDT
Natez, you were pretty much right. Milwaukee called back. It is being held in evidence. They arrested 3 men while doing a search warrant. I know it was a vice officer but not much else about the situation or the condition of the gun. Basically it is sit and wait now until the gun is released. Hopefully I can get it in a few months I can let everyone know of the condition. Thanks for everyones help. Darn "meth-heads"!

Jamie
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