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Burglers And Vandals...Hate'em Both! Especially When I'm Their Target!


ipmsusa2
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Back in 2018 I was in the hospital for eight days.  Four months later, my shop was burglarized to the tune of some $5,000...mostly computers and tools.  Got nothing back except for one computer monitor.  Then things rocked on and calmed down.  Since then, due to medical problems, I haven't spent much time at my shop, but I had no other problems, at least from the burglary standpoint. Until the last couple or three months.  Since then, my shop has been broken into multiple times with the damage getting worse each time.  Being broken into is one thing, but they are specifically targeting model kits, modelbuilding equipment and supplies, etc.  Worse, they are cherrypicking, taking mostly the good stuff. 

Today was the worst.  Two or three days after the last forced entry, they got in again...and this time they vandalized the place.  What they didn't take they tried to destroy.  At least ninety percent of all the kits that were still in the shop were opened and strewn around, walked on, drawers pulled out and the whole place made a wreck.  I doubt that I will be able to salvage anything more than a small part of what's been taken or ruined. 

I could go on, but I think I've dumped enough.  Sorry for the long rant but I hadda find someplace to vent.

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Very sad indeed.....and there's NO way to understand people like that who do such things. On the other hand....maybe this is the Lord's way of saying "time to retire and relax"?

 

Gil :cool:

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On 11/23/2021 at 4:32 PM, Circuitrider said:

I worked in law enforcement for 13 years as an avocation. I have to admit, there was little more satisfying than catching one of these little miscreants in the act.

31 years here. It’s great when it’s a “hanging court” where the case goes and you’re not spinning your wheels as it is with a catch and release courthouse.

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Carlos, the  sad part is that more and more courts are becoming catch and release.  Brett, cameras caught nothing, partly because they got in around four or five in the morning when it was pitch dark.  And as for insurance, most of what I had that they took was accumulated on a multi-decade period, so the deductible/depreciation aspect would kick in to prevent the insurance company from paying anything.  Then there's the inevitable do you have receipts for everything and what about serial numbers?  Y'all know how we modelers acquire supplies, kits and equipment.  It's even worse when it's a business and you're on the receiving end of either samples or kits provided by clients.  Throw in freelance writing...mostly about models and modelbuilding...and you can see why I'm between a rock and a hard place.

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I’m sorry to hear that Richard. Aside from Austin, I had thought that the rest of Texas was very law and order from the cops, to the courts, the majority of the people, and local governments. 
It is unfortunate how insurance companies play their games to minimize or eliminate their pay outs. A line of business without honor.

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We get catch and release because we have become cheap and complacent about building and staffing prisons. People forget as the population goes up, the need for properly staffed prisons go up. But no one wants spend the money and compromises must be made. 
 

Dak

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Back on the subject, the disaster continues and exacerbates.  This morning I got a call from a neighbor. forced entry had been made again.  This time more vandalism, including removing the braces that had been over the metal door with 2 1/2 inch screws in two locations...from the inside, no less.  Then a heavy cabinet that had been sitting on top of an old floor furnace opening had been moved and the heavy wood insert that had filled the opening had been removed, leaving the floor open.  More vandalism had been done, though how much I don't know until I can get back over there.

If that ain't enough, I discovered a natural gas leak which was the result of the perps removing a tankless water heater from the outside of the house.  And if that ain't enough to frost the cake, they had also removed the electric meter at the back of the house, then pulled the electric box, climbed on the roof, cut the power cable, then pulled the copper cable providing 200 amp service down and made off with it!

Where this is going to end I have no idea.  What bothers me is that by the time this mess is finally under control, is to be forced to spend an unimaginable amount of money...which I don't have...in order to maintain anything that can be referred to as a business.  I've been in this activity since 1967 and have no plans to stop...unless I drop dead...anytime soon.  Why?  Because I consider it my calling and is what I was born to do.

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Richard, at this point I have to ask… is there somebody who wants that property which you occupy? Somebody wishing to install something new on that piece of land? Your experienced crimes sound beyond simple burglaries and vandalism, and more like a sustained effort to drive out the occupant. Standard burglars do not invest so much effort into their crimes. Not unless there is a high pay off for such efforts. Their thefts need to pay off in selling the spoils of the burglaries. Otherwise why go thru the effort?

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Carlos, you make a good point.  But I would tend to discount it simply because no one else around there is having similar problems.  Last night a neighbor saw a guy around the place around midnight, called the cops and cops wound up apprehending him.  Perp was in the backyard where he had no right to be.  Hadn't made entry and all doors were secured.  Trouble is that I don't think he's the only one involved because I doubt he would've also been the one to rip off the tankless water heater and get on the roof to cut the power and steal the copper cable.

Of course the flip side is that I get multiple phone calls per day from investors/flippers wanting to buy my property, but that's going on all over the city from low income to high income.  Not only does it not matter whether the property is occupied or not, they actually don't know if property is occupied because they work off the public property lists at the courthouse.  I would agree with your theory if other houses were being hit but the house across the street just spent a slew of money to install solar panels on their roof.

 

Edited by ipmsusa2
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After the police left with the perp in custody at 2 a.m. and telling me that the place was secure and all doors locked, I checked the place something like eleven hours later.  Door was unlocked and closed.  Called police...again. 

Latest police visitation finally found out how they're getting in the the house.  Crawled under a very small opening at the side of the porch which gives them access to the underside of the house (pier and beam foundation).  Then they forced their way thru the old furnace opening.  The opening's now been secured...I hope...as follows:  3/4" plywood screwed down on top of the opening with 3" screws (hardwood floor).  Cabinet placed on top and against adjacent wall.  More 3/4" plywood on top of cabinet, then the plywood screwed down to top of cabinet with 3" screws.  Combination of cabinet and plywood screwed to wall (no sheetrock, solid wood wall) with 3" screws.  Two heavy metal doors placed on top of the whole conglomeration.

This also proves that there are at least two and possibly three people/groups involved.  According to police, the problem is the large number of homeless in the general area.  They also said they have quit being surprised at how creative they are at getting into homes, occupied or not.  It's reached the point that individuals are knocking on doors in the middle of upscale neighborhoods, begging for money and then trying to push their way in!  I don't know what the answer is.

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That’s good news that the local cops caught somebody and took them to jail. Now if the DA and courts will do their job and send the crooks to jail for the specified time period, taking that criminal off the street will be a good thing. If it’s catch and release, it only encourages the bad guys, because they learn that there are no real consequences to any such activity. 

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Unfortunately, it'll be catch and release.  The perp had not gotten into the house and had no property on him.  Nothing more than simple trespass, unless he has a record or outstanding warrants.  Basically he's gonna get a slap on the wrist. 

Latest update.  The way I blocked the floor opening seems to be working.  Was over there today and everything was still locked up and no attempt had been made to get thru the floor opening.  Cross your fingers.  Of course we still have the perp or perps that got the tankless water heater and copper power line to worry about.

Edited by ipmsusa2
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Yes, metal theft is pretty common among the homeless populations to provide a source of income. Take any metals from a vacant property down to the local recycling center and get a few bucks. We had a lot of that where I used to work among the vacant industrial properties. Copper wiring fetches a pretty good return, especially the the heavier gauge wires and cables. Every now and then one of the local thieves would fry themselves trying to take a high voltage line that hadn’t been powered off. 

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Place good quality (powerful) bear traps around where they (critters) are getting under your home.  After some broken claws (fingers) and trips to the vet (emergency room), maybe they will start getting the hint and try some one else's home to invade.  Also, along the path of entry, put boards with nail driven through.  I would do this with any unwanted "wild scavengers".

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Studies vary, but one survey estimates that 11% of homeless people are Veterans. The Veteran’s Administration estimates there are c. 107,000 homeless Veterans on any given night in America.

I guess a lot of that ‘Thank you for your service’ talk is just that- talk! 
 

Nick Filippone

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5 hours ago, Nick Filippone said:

 

I guess a lot of that ‘Thank you for your service’ talk is just that- talk! 
 

Nick Filippone

Yes it is. There’s a lot of lip service, but not a lot of deeds.

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I am very sorry to read of what has been happening to ipmsusa2

A lot of that has been happening in the Chicago metro area starting in AD 2020 and two local TV stations have decided to broadcast early to mid 1970s Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Charles Bronson movies .

As for homeless: Since the Covid  Lock Downs-  in the Chicago suburbs - I have been seeing old cars filled with trash bags of possessions and sometimes an aluminum and fabric lawn chair or bicycle strapped to the roof; the occupant sitting nearby under a sheltering store roof overhang.

FWIW.......before setting any  traps for critters, you might want to consult with an attorney about what legal problems may arise from such devices as I am reminded of various articles over the years:

Booby trap killing echoes textbook case

Just sayin'

I Hope your situation improves.

Edited by cheveuxroux
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Bob, thanks for your condolences.  And yes, I am well aware of the potential legal problems if you set up booby traps to catch the perps, which is why I won't do it, regardless of what I might like to do.  Incidentally, Texas has a carry law now...open or concealed..but the sad truth is that if you shoot someone in self defense, whether they are killed or not, you will spend a very long time in the legal system.  It won't matter whether it's criminal or civil and once you survive all of that, you may not have any real money for the rest of your life.  Considering that I don't have much money to start with, most of mine is going have to go to try replacing to some degree what has been stolen, damaged or destroyed.  Not much of a choice, is it?

 

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Unfortunately, I am also aware of the risk of being hauled into court by either the injured individual or family members.

I first learned of that in the mid 1960s as a child when an attorney gave my father advice about what he could do to protect his family in a similar situation; the only solution was moving.

Chicago pays out a LOT of taxpayer money in lawsuits against the city.

 

 

 

 

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