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You just CAN'T do a good thing anymore...

By cando in Op-Ed
Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 06:22:52 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Have you ever tried to do a good thing for somebody and wind up completely screwed? It happened to my boyfriend yesterday. The whole story is here. In brief, though, it would seem that if you find something stolen and have a chance to return it, DON'T. You will only wind up arrested, fingerprinted and embarrassed at work. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with society?


Just to add some facts:
1) The cops were called because the doctor claimed he was afraid that my boyfriend was trying to lure him somewhere to mug him. So why didn't the cops come with the doctor to protect him?
2) They arrested Ron in our office at work, which contains a half million dollars worth of equipment (low estimate) just in OUR 12X24 room alone. With easy access to the unmonitered back door. Why would he steal a 3 year old crappy dell laptop?
3) Nobody cared that Ron was trying to return the laptop. Just that he posessed it. Why would he give all of his personal info to the doctor (name, place of business, phone number) if he intended to do anything other than the stated intent?
And finally
4) At no point were any badges shown. The (plain clothes, like it was a big undercover thing) cops never showed ID to anyone and wouldn't tell us where they were taking Ron. The information that he had been arrested by any particular police station was only gotten after we called the cops and threatened to press kidnapping charges.

All geeks beware. If you are a long-haired freak (like Ron) you can't do a good deed either.

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You just CAN'T do a good thing anymore... | 81 comments (77 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
No Badge? (4.50 / 4) (#1)
by SwampGas on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 08:58:10 AM EST

An officer must clearly identify him or herself as an officer of the law, and show proof of it. I don't believe the have to say where they take people, though.

You can't really blame the doctor for doing what he did. If someone stole a piece of my equipment and told me I could have it back, I would have sent the cops, too. For all the doc knows, you guys could have stolen it. I think a better course of action would have been to go directly to the police, explain it, and just ask that you be compensated. Besides, if the guy is convincted, part of his sentence could be to repay you.

It's nice to see people do something like this...my laptop holds all the information about the company I own.

Re: No Badge? (none / 0) (#6)
by cando on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:00:58 AM EST

There is an inherant distrust of cops here. A lawyer that I spoke to in regards to this case finds in horrifying. Evidence can be presented in regards to the fact that the laptop theft had nothing to do with my boyfriend. (Evidence such as the fact that he was at work when the item was stolen, has witnesses to the purchase, receipts from the atm where he withdrew the money, phone records showing the attempts to get the doctor on the phone, etc.) It is very hard to explain everything. As for the request to show ID, I made one when one of the detectives questioned me (we work at the same company, in the same office). He fumbled and fumbled, said nevermind, and tried to leave. I ran after him and told him that I DEMANDED to see ID. He then pulled out a plastic license like ID that simply stated "POLICE", his photo, his name and his rank. No department, no other information. No badge. I know that I cannot use my work ID for anything other than getting in. What ever happened to official police ID?

[ Parent ]
Re: No Badge? (none / 0) (#18)
by SwampGas on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 05:21:50 PM EST

When an officer pulls you over, he needs to clearly identify who he is, what his name is, and have his badge showing, as well as present his badge number upon request.

If a plain clothes officer attempts to use his authority, he needs to do just about the same. You might have a case here, built just on the fact he didn't do that.

[ Parent ]
Re: No Badge? (none / 0) (#58)
by Fesh on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:29:13 PM EST

Is this a Federal requirement, or does it only apply in your locality? I've never had an officer give me their name during a random sobriety-check roadblocks they have regularly here... And often times their badges are hidden behind the orange traffic vests they're wearing. In fact, most of the time they have the roadblock, I can't even tell what they're checking for. I pull out my license as a habit when I see the lights, hand it to the officer, he looks it over, says "thanks" when handing it back, and waves me on.

[ Parent ]
Re: No Badge? (none / 0) (#62)
by PresJPolk on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 06:12:30 PM EST

It is a federal requirement.

The requirement that police must identify themselves stems from the Bill of Rights, and related Supreme Court rulings.

Don't ask me which ones - I can't look them up right now. :-)

[ Parent ]
Re: No Badge? (none / 0) (#70)
by Fetch on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 04:54:16 PM EST

This is actually kind of scary, that people feel the need to present identification to an authority when, not only is there a legitimate need (ie, you got caught performing a traffic violation), but the officers themselves do not identify themselves. I live in a college town, but its actually true wherever I've been pulled over in the state of Texas that the police officer identifies themselves as soon as they come up to your car. I've never bothered (because I get pulled over for real traffic violations ;) but I'm sure that I could request identification easily, if I wanted. Fascism is only prevented by the due diligence of a society's citizens. I know most police officers genuinely want to do good for the people they protect, but if you let the protectors have power, they will give it back only reluctantly... and I really don't want my TV monitoring me for thought-crime, just because people aren't willing to be firm about their chosen security force about the limits of their powers.

[ Parent ]
A nice gesture but flawed implementation (3.50 / 12) (#2)
by Carnage4Life on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:02:40 AM EST

From the letter:
This morning first thing, I called the Doctor's office and told him I had his laptop. I told him I bought it from a black youth for $400 and he can have it back. I told him I'd like to have the $400 back, but I'd eat the money if necessary.

Asking for the money made your boyfriend seem like the thief who was simply trying to extort money from the doctor. After all, if you're car/computer/TV was stolen and then you got a call from a good Samaritan stating that he obtained it from anonymous black youth and would like a reward for returning it to you, you'd be suspicious as well.

That said, I believe the police could have handled the situation better than they did. But isn't that how it always is? :(

Damn doctor (none / 0) (#81)
by jovlinger on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:09:06 PM EST

The real rat in this situation is the doctor, who instead of gratefully accepting the good-faith deed goes and calls in the cops.

I can't really fault the police in this matter. They were presumably going in to arrest what they thought was a very naive fence. After all, a credible victim (doctor no less) called them and reported that so and so was attempting to sell him his laptop.

I would like to commend the samaritan (whose name escapes me) for not succumbing to publishing the doctor's name and address. I doubt I would have been able to resist that temptation.

[ Parent ]
Should really think it through next time. (3.50 / 8) (#4)
by Defect on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:35:38 AM EST

Well, if the laptop was stolen and the victim never saw the thief then all the police have to go by is where the laptop is and who currently has it. Obviously this was your boyfriend. There are many other options your boyfriend had that would have been better. Even after choosing to buy the laptop, the mere mention of money without even meeting the doctor sounded very suspicious.

You can still do good things, you just have to think clearly and try to understand what the affected parties (such as the police) might think in the situation. If i am mugged at gunpoint and somehow turn the gun arround on the attacker, which one of us would look like the bad guy, the original attacker? or me holding a gun to a guy with his hands up?

Being a cop is a hard job, i know several. They rarely have anything close to all the information they need and they act on what they have.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
An reply to "facts" 1 and 4 (1.00 / 2) (#5)
by Defect on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:43:08 AM EST

Cops don't need to show ID. No one does unless requested to do so. If i tell you that i am Mary Stevens and you believe me, then it's your call all the way. My ID though, would show otherwise. If you requested to see an ID and you weren't shown one then there'd be a problem.

As for why the cops didn't bring the doctor, there was no reason to. Why bring a civilian into the situation when they can just run in, get the criminal, and get out. It just sucked on your part that your boyfriend happened to be the suspect.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Re: An reply to "facts" 1 and 4 (none / 0) (#45)
by RadiantMatrix on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 03:46:23 AM EST

Cops don't need to show ID. No one does unless requested to do so.
In the US, at least, any police officer must identify themselves (including showing the badge) as they are making the arrest.
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
Re: Should really think it through next time. (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by cando on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:03:20 AM EST

You can say that you must think it through, but bear this in mind. The police arrested him and brought him in. It is then up to them to decide whether or not a crime was committed. They weren't interested in witnesses (2 were offered) but decided to set up an araignment. Is that right? Dont' the police have to investigate crimes?

[ Parent ]
Good Samaritans are rare, so know your limits (4.33 / 9) (#8)
by TuxNugget on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:04:11 AM EST

Since good samaritans are rare, most people will not believe that you are acting in that role. Therefore, you have to know your limits and take precautions.

When someone broke into a system we had, we traced the culprits to a particular IRC channel and recorded their channel for several days.

This told us nothing about the culprits, but at some point, someone on channel said his employer was a bitch and gave out her name, address, phone number, and credit card numbers, presumably to let his elite underworld buddies screw her over.

This bothered me a great deal. This kind of crap is just wrong.

Checking the name against Yahoo! people, everything matched up so I called the person from out of state and explained the situation to the woman, and told her what I knew.

I did not give the lady my name, and I did use a pay phone. The conversation included some rather pointed questions from her end, so these precautions were appropriate. The lady was repeatedly confused about how I could have her credit card numbers. Clearly I must have been the bad guy rather than one of her own employees in her small business. If I was a good guy, she wondered why didn't I report this to the police, the computer police, or whoever takes care of this sort of thing? Of course, trying to explain that no one really controls the internet doesn't sound like it makes much sense -- especially if you don't even know what the internet is.

However, she now knew she had a problem.

I was hesitant about helping - after all, most credit card contracts would have absolved the lady from liability. But still, I felt it was the right thing to do.

What I did not do was offer my name or phone number, or put myself in any position of risk or of having my time wasted repeating the story over and over. Since I had no idea who any of the bad guys were, I would have known nothing that could have helped anyone in an investigation. I knew my limits.



Maybe..... (2.62 / 8) (#9)
by reshippie on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:12:49 AM EST

It does sound a bit iffy, but if you think about it, He gave personal info, and said he was willing to eat the money. I guess some people are paranoid, or maybe I'm just too optimistic, but it sounds reasonable to me.

As for the cops, I think that they totally mishandled the situation. Sending in plainclothes officers was dumb.

Someone said that cops do not need to show ID, unless asked. That's a frightening thought. If someon slaps a pair of handcuffs on you, and claims to be the police, is there really that much you can do? It's not like they're gonna show you their ID while dragging you off by the neck.

It also sounds like they didn't do much checking on Ron. The story makes it sound like they barged in like a drug raid, instead of showing up, identifying themselves, and peacefully asking him to "Go downtown and answer some questions."

Then again, the only unbiased version of a story is your own.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)

Re: Maybe..... (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by cando on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:24:59 AM EST

Thanks for your opinion. I will agree on some scale. My side is biased because I know Ron and know his intent. When he came home with the laptop and told me what he was doing, I told him he was crazy. I told him that he would get arrested. I usually think the worst, so everyone thinks I over-react. I'm sorry to say that I was right. He looks the part of a thief. Typical geek look for around here... long hair scraggly, not too appearance-oriented. We look at the mind, not the looks. Guess it's time to clean him up a bit...

[ Parent ]
Re: Maybe..... (none / 0) (#12)
by reshippie on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:54:22 AM EST

>Guess it's time to clean him up a bit...

No, don't do that, don't go changing him just because other want you to. I have long hair, and am working on a goatee, I look strange. People give me strange looks, but I've found that as long as I act nice, and civil, no one gives me crap.

Those that get to know me, even like me. :)

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)
[ Parent ]

Why is it, that you don't trust the Police? (3.85 / 7) (#11)
by NKJensen on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:53:22 AM EST

My oh my, this is easy aftermath of course, but why the h... didn't he bring the laptop straight to the police in the first place?

That is what I do when stolen or missing property shows up somewhere near me.

I worked in France some years ago, and the same type of "Fear and avoid the Police" idea lived there too. I wonder why. Please inform me a bit on this matter.
--
From Denmark. I like it, I live there. France is another great place.

Re: Why is it, that you don't trust the Police? (2.00 / 2) (#13)
by cando on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 11:20:47 AM EST

I live in norhtern New Jersey, USA. New Jersey cops (just about all towns) have pretty bad reputations. Most walk around looking for trouble. Two of the police officers that showed up are part of a department that is being sued for arresting a man on suspicion of murder of a police officer (the man had nothing to do with it). The killed the man in question. They had him in custody for less than an hour. They beat him to death.

I never claimed to be a perfect person. Neither is Ron. We smoke pot. Wow. Big deal. But that is a big deal in New Jersey. I don't want a cop coming to my house to retrieve stolen property, have them search, find a joint and put me in jail. NJ has mandatory minimums. Ridiculous things like 5 years in jail for possession of pot. Just for returning a laptop.

Trust me, if the laptop had been turned in with the story of the purchase, they would have gotten a search warrant for the house. That I don't need. That is why the cops were not called in the first place.

[ Parent ]
Re: Why is it, that you don't trust the Police? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Spendocrat on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:01:25 PM EST

I don't think I"ll ever understand or get over the complete hipocrisy(sp, doh) behind the war on drugs. Sure, you can beat a guy outside a bar, but that doesn't gurantee any time. Smoke pot, carry pot? you're going to jail! Just so some yahoo politician can look like hs' "tough on crime".

I'm not even going to talk about cigarettes and booze. It's been talked about before and it makes me just way too mad.

[ Parent ]

Don't be dumb! (none / 0) (#20)
by MeanGene on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 06:40:06 PM EST

We all know that the preceeding post could be forged.

But it is an admission of illegal activity and the printout of this discussion is all that it takes to convince a judge that there's a reasonable suspicion to have your house searched.

Don't ever admit to anything!

[ Parent ]

Re: Don't be dumb! (none / 0) (#21)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 06:43:19 PM EST

Imagine having to talk to the cops about pot? It sucked.

[ Parent ]
Re: Why is it, that you don't trust the Police? (3.33 / 3) (#15)
by trhurler on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:43:48 PM EST

"They pay me to enforce the law - not to obey it." -- an actual cop said it.

That's why I don't trust cops. There are a few good ones around, and it is deceptively easy to get to know those guys and then say "cops are my friends." The problem is, cops have almost unlimited authority in most situations, and the kind of people that attracts are not always the kind of people you'd want to have as cops.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Re: Why is it, that you don't trust the Police? (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by el_guapo on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 08:27:29 PM EST

You haven't heard of the LA police scandal, where they have been caught red-handed framing people. Or in New York, where, if you make the horrible mistake of attacking a group of police officers with your wallet they will shoot you dead. Or also in New York, where if you make the horrible mistake of being black and arrested at the same time you might get sodomized by a broom handle. Or if you happen to be a small rural town in Texas, are black and arrested at the same time, they will confiscate your vehicle (legally so, no less) because they "thought" they smelled pot. They can then go ahead and sell it without even charging you with a crime. (If you happen to be white at the time of this arrest, you'll just have the aggravation of being held up for a while on the side of the road, and maybe getting a "Lane change without a signal" ticket)
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Re: Why is it, that you don't trust the Police? (none / 0) (#50)
by Quark on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 09:12:15 AM EST

Over here in the Netherlands it's a bit different fortunately. You can get away with quite a lot and Ron probably wouldn't have been arrested but told to stay in town for further questioning while the police sorted things out.

Unfortunately this also means that "real" criminals get away with a lot of things as well.

So much bandwidth, so little time...
[ Parent ]
It's all about intent. (4.33 / 9) (#19)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 05:24:12 PM EST

Lots of interesting comments..

I know the police were coming, but I wasn't sure they were coming to arrest me. I understand how the police operate and they had to handle this as a police matter.

My only point here, is that the police should of realized this wasn't a back alley meeting but a huge office building.

They should of presented themselves as Police Officers and asked about the laptop, Not do the Five O sting operation, throw me to the ground, handcuff me then announce themselves as police officers.

Maybe in hindsight, I should of called the Police instead of Dr Spier, but I didn't really see this as a big deal.

Part of their verbal bashing on me was, that I probually bought the laptop for $50, now I'm trying to extort money from Dr Spier.

Thats alot of trouble to go through for $350, especially for a 2 year old dell laptop (inspiron 7000).

If I had probauuly been wearing a suit and a tie, it wouldn;t of gone down like this, but considering thatr now I have long hair, I had to be guilty of something.

ronzo mckelvey

... I did request someone who was outside at the time smoking, to hang around because the police just arrived, and I need a witness of what's about to happen..

I'll have his letter to the mayor tomorrow..

thanks again




How I would have done it... (2.00 / 1) (#30)
by chewie on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:16:50 PM EST

*beep*beep*beep*boop*beep*beep*boop*

"Hello, is this the Police station? Great. I was offered a stolen laptop for $400 earlier today. I know the person, what he looks like, and where he hangs out. He trusts that I'm on the level with him, so I can probably purchase the equipment without too much difficulty. Would you like to nail this guy? I'll wear a wire if you want!..."

I understand that you feel intent matters, and in some cases a judge may even agree with you. Police don't. If you're a suspect, and believe me when I say you certainly would look that way, you're simply going to be lumped in with all the rest of the suspects. What is the one thing a criminal going to say to a Police officer when questioned about the equipment? "I was going to give it back" or "I found it" and "No, I wasn't trying to extort the doctor."

And all for a crappy old laptop. Man, I really don't envy you. I think you'll get out of this one, simply because of the support you've received from everyone. You may end up eating your $400, and lawyer fees to boot. I feel for ya. Good luck!


assert(expired(knowledge)); /* core dump */
[ Parent ]
Re: How I would have done it... (none / 0) (#31)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:27:34 PM EST

thanks, i know the charges will be dismessied, but that's what a lawyer does.... just so you know.. I didn;t know the kid with the laptop.. and i wasn;t going to incriminate any people I know by saying whose house I was out.. They asked me many times...

[ Parent ]
Find yourself a better dealer (none / 0) (#59)
by whuppy on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:51:59 PM EST

First of all, I do congratulate you for your misguided act of nobility.

That said, I strongly recommend you avoid the sort of house where people try to fence stolen goods. You do not want to be at that place when (not if) it gets busted.

Don't worry: There are plenty of other pot dealers in New Jersey. (So I hear.)

ps: "should have", not "should of"! Argh!

[ Parent ]

grammar and spelling, does it count? (none / 0) (#66)
by ronzomckelvey on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:06:27 PM EST

I kinda forgot how to spell and proper grammar when I learned to use a keyboard... if it wasn't for spelling and grammar checkers I'd really be screwed... but I usually get syntax correct..

[ Parent ]
Re: It's all about intent. (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by AgentGray on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:27:27 PM EST

Ron,

I commend you for wanting to help the guy out, but as in my previous (harsh - I apologize) rant their were other things you could have done.

I honestly do wish there were more people like you out there. Maybe this would help inform those who would make the same mistake?

[ Parent ]
Re: It's all about intent. (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by matman on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:55:21 PM EST

you should really strip the phone numbers, addresses, and names from the letters that you posted online.

[ Parent ]
Re: It's all about intent. (none / 0) (#49)
by childlike on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 08:42:11 AM EST

Sure, intent is important. But in this case, at the time the police arrested you, all they knew was that you were in possession of a stolen laptop and were offering to sell it to the owner. The police have a duty to follow up real crimes of this sort, and if occasionally they arrest an innocent man, so be it.

I have seen no mention in your letters or the k5 story of whether or not you have been charged for possession of stolen goods or whatever. If you have, then I must admit that you are very unlucky, but if the police aren't going to pursue this any further, maybe you should just see this as a learning experience and get on with your life.

btw it's "should've" or "should have", not "should of"... sorry :P

[ Parent ]

My own rant. (3.91 / 12) (#22)
by joshv on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 06:46:21 PM EST

The chain of events put forth here is one of two things:

1. A cover story invented by some bright but naive guys who thought they could get a cheap laptop.

2. The whinings of someone who broke the law and should have known better.

I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume #2. My rant:

a. Purchasing goods which you know to be stolen is a crime, regardless of your intent.
b. Why the hell did you expect the Dr. to believe you?
c. What information does this Dr. have to be able to differentiate between a good samaritan and a stupid thief trying to 'fence' the stolen goods back to the person who lost them.
d. We have laws and law enforcement to handle just such situations. If you know a law is being broken, and want to be a good samaritan, call the cops.
e. We also have insurance and backups to handle just such situations. If the doctor had a good backup and insurance I wouldn't feel all that sorry for him, he is getting a free upgrade. If he didn't I wouldn't feel sorry for him anyway, he deserved what he got.
f. Cops are not required to identify themselves unless they are asked 'Are you a cop'.
g. Learn your lesson and get on with life. Hope the judge takes pity on your naive butt.

-josh


This issue is more the way the Police acted (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 06:57:49 PM EST

By all means, the Dr could of thought someone was going to lure him to a private locate, steal his $400 also, and maybe harm him.. call the police.. yes indeed.. he even told me he was going to call the police.. I told him I'd rather he didn't. so maybe the police could of acted in a more professional manner, especially since they came to a Siemens building that employees over 500 people, not a bad alley. if i had short hair, and was wearing a suit, then things might of been different.

[ Parent ]
Re: This issue is more the way the Police acted (none / 0) (#52)
by minusp on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 10:16:55 AM EST

No, then things WOULD have been different
Remember, regime change begins at home.
[ Parent ]
Re: This issue is more the way the Police acted (none / 0) (#67)
by Nat Lanza on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:07:57 PM EST

What?

You told him you'd rather that he didn't talk to the police? What the hell were you thinking?

[ Parent ]

Two mistakes here. (3.55 / 9) (#24)
by h0tr0d on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 07:04:44 PM EST

The first mistake that I see here is in his telling the Dr. that he would like $400 for the laptop. Sorry, but if I got this call I'd assume that the crime of extortion is taking place and might possibly react in the same manner as the Dr. Especially if this was my work laptop. Maybe he should have gone to the Dr.'s office or contacted the police to begin with. I do have to admit this was a mighty nice thing to do though. He (and you) ought to be proud. I don't know very many people that put helping others out at this level.

The second mistake lies in the manner in which the police handled the situation. Two detectives should have come and talked with him, not arrested him. Also, no one in that office should have let him go anywhere without proper identification. Keep in mind that any law enforcement officer has to properly identify him/her self prior to enforcing any laws. This includes giving you the opportunity to contact his/her supervisor to verify the officers credentials.

I am glad that your boyfriend is such a good guy and I am sorry that this happened to him. I hope that this won't keep him from being a good guy in the future. Just make him a little more aware of all of the things that can go wrong.

As an aside, if I find someone's wallet I will not return it to them directly. If they happen to live in an apartment I might drop it off at the rental office otherwise I anonymously return it via the USPS. If indeed there was anything of value in it when it was lost and said valueable is missing upon return there is a likelyhood that I could be accused of being the thief. The accusation being that I found the wallet and took a reward for myself. It is sad that we have to think this way but it is the only way to think in order to protect ourselves.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

Re: Two mistakes here. (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 07:11:51 PM EST

It went more like: Point 1: Me: I got your laptop from a kid in Millburn for $400. You can have it back. Dr: You expect me to pay you $400? Me: If that's a problem for you, then I'll eat the money, but it would be nice to have my $400 back. Point 2: Me to cop: Before you take me away, are you going to left me tell my boss your taking me away? cop: no

[ Parent ]
Re: Two mistakes here. (4.50 / 2) (#28)
by h0tr0d on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 07:51:11 PM EST

That's pretty typical of a cop to not let you tell your boss. It's like that one phone call thing. You don't get it until they let you. I didn't mean for my first post to sound like I thought that you didn't explain yourself to the Dr. I believe that you did. I was just pointing out that even with an explanation I might still be a little suspicious. I guess I've just had too many good samaritan acts turn bad on me(many long stories) so I am now a little suspicious of everything. I do think that in the end the prosecutor would be nuts to pursue this any further. With enough witnesses they have nothing against you other than being a kind hearted person. Which, the last time I checked was not yet illegal. Good luck with this whole thing.

One thing that amazes me about this is that if I called the police and said that there was a raving, drug crazed lunatic threatening myself and my fellow employees it would probably take 20 plus minutes for a response and then they'd only send one lonely officer. However, when there is a good guy to be arrested it happens almost instantly. I've actually seen people arrested based on nothing more than unsubstantiated anonymous information, which was later discovered to be false. So I'm sure a well to do doctor calling in carried a lot of weight. Especially against a tech person. As I have learned, law enforcement truly fears tech saavy people. Not because we are criminals but because they don't understand what it is that we do and they know that they do not have the resources to recruit quality people to help in this area. Oh well.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.
[ Parent ]

I know what you mean (3.80 / 10) (#26)
by CiXeL on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 07:16:43 PM EST

My family had a rabbit. I tend to be the altruist in the family that winds up taking care of the 'fad' pets after my little brothers get sick of them and begin neglecting and starving them. This rabbit lived outside and one night was attacked by a racoon in our backyard. Anyways, the cut on its head got infected and a large festoring mass started growing on its head so we went to the vet and got antibiotics for it and i fed it antibiotics with yogurt. The mass went down but still didnt go away and my mom was done with paying for it so the poor rabbit got sicker and sicker and was sitting in the backyard trembling and spasming as the infection was taking over it. I felt bad for it so i figured the best thing to do was have it euthanized. My mom said hell no, we arent going to pay 50 bucks to put it to sleep. So i figured i had to do it myself, it was the only humane way. I didnt have the guts to do it like my dad said which was break its neck so i used a cage in a plastic bag attached to a car exhaust pipe. This was years ago. Well anyways over a casual conversation of a dinner inviting the neighbors over, my parents brought it up and now my entire neighborhood things im some sort of heartless monster that i could do such a thing, when i just wanted the poor thing to stop suffering. Its not like i had any pleasure in doing it, in fact i loathed it and hated my fscking parents because they wouldnt have it done. Hated for doing a good deed, it sucks.
Question Tradition...
Re: I know what you mean (none / 0) (#35)
by AgentGray on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:22:32 PM EST

Damn, that sucks.

[ Parent ]
Think about things from the other doctor's p.o.v. (3.88 / 9) (#27)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 07:38:41 PM EST

What was your boyfriend thinking? It doesn't just *look* like he was acting criminally - he was actually aiding a criminal. Imagine lots more people took it into their head to buy stolen goods like this so that they could sell them back to their original owners. You'd be providing a market for thieves and actually encouraging them. His actions were practically indistinguishable from those of a fence. How can you claim he wasn't being one? Do you think that things would be a lot better if fences still carried on their criminal activity but with different intentions? Of course not! If you're going to have a police force to control crime it'd be pretty irrational for them not to get annoyed with people who encourage theft in this way. Frankly I think your boyfriend's behaviour was less than intelligent! But I wish him good luck anyway as I'm sure he's already learnt from this episode!
SIGFPE
Here, here! (none / 0) (#61)
by whuppy on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 02:00:44 PM EST

I would just like to second the above comment. (Cf. my posting elsewhere: "Never negotiate with terrorists and never buy stolen goods.")

[ Parent ]
I am ashamed (4.46 / 15) (#32)
by Myxx on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:56:46 PM EST

I must say that while the gentleman made a few mistakes, I do hope he does it again. The world needs more people just like him.

I am ashamed of everyone one of you who stand there and say "Serves you right for getting involved. " Or, "Serves you right for not going straight to the police." I truly ope that some day you are standing there, wetting your pants as some thug works you over for the $50 in your pocket and the watch on your wrist, and somebody comes by and sees you. Instead of running to the police, like you insist they should, they decide to pull your sorry carcass out of the gutter where the thug left you. When the cops come and arrest him/her because why would any SANE person stop and help a victim, I wonder what yo will say. No, it is better to leave you there, covered in blood and piss and crying about why no one is good and decent and willing to come help you.

I am sick and tired of people "not wanting to get involved." I sure as hell hope someone saves my laptop the day it gets stolen. I left my laptop in my car one night in my carport with the door unlocked. I didn't know it was unlocked as it was very unusual for me to leave it that way. Someone took it but dropped it in a neighbor's yard. Did I deserve that? Perhaps, but not the same way that a drunk fool playing with a rifle and an apple and his good buddy deserves the Darwin award he gets. We all learn through experience and quite frankly each of you sorry excuses for human beings with the "you got what you deserved" attitudes seem to think he should learn to just butt out. Not, "good job but do it differently next time." Not a "It is easy to see his point. But I like your intentions."

No, you have to turn his deed into something more base. Is it that you are really thinking "stupid dude. He should have kept the laptop." Or, "What a dumb jerk. He should have known not to trust the cops." Do I over-conjecture? Do I assume too much? Perhaps I am just being "real" and trying to teach you some hard lesson you never learned about what a cool world it would be if everyone helped each other out. This isn't tree-hugging stuff. This is the kind of thing that improves the gene pool, not dilute it.

Ron, I stand and applaud you. I will get your back any day.

Re: I am ashamed (2.00 / 2) (#34)
by AgentGray on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:18:50 PM EST

A person's life is one thing.

Your comparing a laptop to a human in distress.

I would cover Ron's back any day as well, but he made a mistake.

[ Parent ]
Re: I am ashamed (none / 0) (#68)
by Myxx on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 10:46:21 PM EST

I agree...I am making the point that just because he did it the wrong way does not mean he should stop trying to do good things.

[ Parent ]
Re: I am ashamed (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by nevauene on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 10:20:29 PM EST

I agree...I am making the point that just because he did it the wrong way does not mean he should stop trying to do good things.

erm.. hate to be rude, but what is up with the pious attitudes about this whole thing? AgentGray, "have faith in the justice system"? Pass the crack over this way, please. as bill hicks said: 'baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh'

Ron, you did the _right thing_ in every sense. These people whinging about it being "against the law regardless" make me ill. Going straight to the police, trying to get the thief busted, that would have been lame. Fuck the police. You tried to just circumvent the 'authorities' altogether, buy the laptop and give it back to the owner, from one person to another. A simple, straight-up act of kindness that becomes 'irresponsible' and 'stupid' in this fucked up world.

Perhaps the doctor might have appreciated it, even been touched by it, if he didn't have the same rock up his arse most of the people commenting here on your dilemma do.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Re: I am ashamed (fearing the police is wrong) (3.00 / 3) (#46)
by NKJensen on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 05:36:24 AM EST

I still find it odd that he did not give the stolen laptop to the police and let them return it to the owner. I always do that and I think that is the only way to handle "hot" items without getting accused of stealing.

Yes, do get involved, but don't take the law into your own hands.
--
From Denmark. I like it, I live there. France is another great place.
[ Parent ]

Are you an idiot? (2.00 / 6) (#33)
by AgentGray on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:14:16 PM EST

Ok, the thing was HOT!

Whether is was a Samaritan act or not what you did was against the law. This just pisses me off. As a citizen YOU are responsible to know the law and to be responsible.

If you wanted to be a good Samaritan, call the police! Let them do their job and nail the guy. From their point of view, you could be doing anything illegal. 1)Buying hot equipment. 2)Extortion. 3)aiding and abetting (approving the actions of the thieves by buying it from them)

Have a little faith in our justice system and let them carry out and judge the law. Don't take it into your own hands.

Plus, you wouldn't be out 400 bucks!

Re: Are you an idiot? (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:36:36 PM EST

I don;t think I'm an idiot, but thanks.. Your probually right, I should of said no thanks.. but regardless now, the Dr still gets his laptop back.

[ Parent ]
Re: Are you an idiot? (none / 0) (#38)
by AgentGray on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:40:33 PM EST

I'm glad you don't think that way. See the reply I made to your origianl post.

The doctor did get his laptop back, albiet the hard way :)

[ Parent ]
geesh! I cannot spell (none / 0) (#39)
by AgentGray on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:44:00 PM EST

o-r-i-g-i-n-a-l

a-l-b-e-i-t

[ Parent ]
Re: Are you an idiot? (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by dvNull on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 12:44:01 AM EST

I dont think you made a wrong decision. You thought about the person whose laptop was stolen and wantedhim to have it back. I have done this myself couple of times (yes and eaten the money i paid for it).

I havent been arrested for that thank god. I find that especially in NJ (I used to live in NJ) cops in small towns like to act first and think later.

You have my support and my letters go to the mayor tomorrow.


If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]
Re: Are you an idiot? (none / 0) (#51)
by Quark on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 09:25:11 AM EST

Have a little faith in our justice system and let them carry out and judge the law. Don't take it into your own hands.

With all due respect to all the American law enforcement people trying to do their job, but no, I refuse to have faith in your justice system. I'll fear it, which will probably result in the same thing: me not breaking the law if I happen to end up in the States.

So much bandwidth, so little time...
[ Parent ]
So the system sucks (1.00 / 2) (#41)
by Cid Highwind on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 11:27:37 PM EST

I know it, you know it, we all know it. The system always has sucked, and likely always will. A bunch of geeks whining about politics and the abuses of those in power on an obscure web site isn't going to fix that.

Lately it seems like this place is about 3 patent rants and a cuecat story short of being just like slashdot(tm). I came here to read about technology, computers, and the internet. If I wanted to hear techies trying to be lawyers, I'd go start reading That Other Site again.
0, 1 - just my two bits
I don't believe you. (2.37 / 8) (#43)
by krisjohn.net on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:04:16 AM EST

Others have danced around the issue, but I want to say outright;

I don't believe you.

I have no compelling evidence to believe this event happened at all, even less to believe it happened as described. I certainly have no inclination to believe you more because you claim to distrust the police, or whatever. Such intitutions get a bad name on occasion, but are on the whole trustworthy.

You would have been far better off neutrally presenting a hypothetical situation of a hot laptop and a previous bad experience with the police, than to be so obviously trolling for sympathy.
Chris (Kris) Johnson

If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.

Re: I don't believe you. (4.00 / 4) (#44)
by omegadave on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:51:32 AM EST

What I would like to know is, what point are you trying to prove? You are seemingly claiming that this is a made up situation which seems rather arrogant and asinine of you. Rather, it seems that your post is simply flamebait to get angry responses and hits to your site that your posted at the end. This is a rather poor and underhanded way to get visitors, simply because you will probably write off and hot-headed replies as 'stupid'

In addition to this, I would like to congratulate Ron on doing the right thing. As far as what AgentGray has said, I think he did the right thing because what mattered in the situation was whether the doctor got the laptop back or not. By simply saying 'no' to the laptop, the possibility that the laptop could be sold to someone with a less moralistic view of the world or that the laptop-bearing youth could have disappeared to not be found again. As far as the police harassment, I am personally unaware of the laws, but common sense tells me that an officer should identify themselves, as least as a curtesy to others so they know that a kidnapping isn't taking place.

Zach Hartley

[ Parent ]

Re: I don't believe you. (none / 0) (#63)
by krisjohn.net on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 06:50:28 PM EST

First off, that last bit is my .sig which I've now altered to appear more obvious

That aside, I guess my point is that these rants are usless unverified posts. Is the poster trustworthy? How do I know. The story is so unlikely, what exists to convince me it's true? Moreover, I shouldn't have to be convinced, I should be able to find cross-references and verifying information on official sites -- or a link to a news story like /.

I personally believe that Rants should be removed from K5 if it wants to be taken seriously.
Chris (Kris) Johnson

If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
[ Parent ]

Re: I don't believe you. (none / 0) (#64)
by ronzomckelvey on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 06:54:50 PM EST

If you think this is too silly of a post to be on kuro5hin, and I'd imagine it has no chance of being on /.

You know what I mean?

So I guess I made up all the letters that I have posted and I'm just ... (I don't even know what to type...)

Is it you don't believe this event has taken place? or the events surrounding it?

[ Parent ]
Re: I don't believe you. (none / 0) (#72)
by krisjohn.net on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 09:54:34 PM EST

Is it you don't believe this event has taken place? or the events surrounding it?
What is much more likely is that the person in the story who purchased the laptop didn't realise, or full accept, that it was stolen even though it should have been obvious, then panicked when they realised it belonged to some professional that obviously wasn't the person they bought it from. They contacted the owner, hoping the police wouldn't find out, but were too stupid to simply absorb the cost of the illegal purchase. The owner called the police, the police arrested the person. I think you'll find that's the version the police would consider closest to the truth too.

It doesn't matter what I think anyway, stuff like this makes Kuro5hin look like a joke and highlights the fundamental flaw in the scoop system. This is my last post.

Chris (Kris) Johnson

If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
[ Parent ]

Re: I don't believe you. (none / 0) (#74)
by nevauene on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 10:00:11 PM EST

> What is much more likely is that the person in the story who purchased the laptop didn't realise, or full accept, that it was stolen even though it should have been obvious,

..blahblahblahblah. and you're so busy abstracting it all and giving your almighty opinion on what's what, that you don't even realize you're replying to the person the story is about.

> It doesn't matter what I think anyway, stuff like this makes Kuro5hin look like a joke and highlights the fundamental flaw in the scoop system. This is my last post.

lol. you'll be sorely missed.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Rant pollution... (none / 0) (#69)
by Luke Scharf on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 05:34:17 PM EST

I personally believe that Rants should be removed from K5 if it wants to be taken seriously.

Of course, if the rant section goes away, then the rants get posted into other sections. In that case, there is good reason not to take K5 seriously.

If the ranting gets out of hand, though, we'll just have to vote them all down.



[ Parent ]
Operation Mindfuck (3.83 / 6) (#47)
by kraant on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:15:04 AM EST

All you people ranting on about how fair or unfair this is have missed the point.

The best thing about this is that it's a great opportunity to fuck over "the man"...

Hard...

Real Hard...

First things first...

Get Legal Representation... I can't emphasise this enough... Don't just have a quick talk with a lawyer... Hire one, retain them. Whatever happens whether you follow my advice or not you are going to need one desperately...

Lock down your server... If you succeed in getting the publicity you need you are going to a lot of attention... the last thing you want are s|<r1pt kiddies poking around and taking down your server... telnetd is running and you still have the apache default install page... I'd replace redhat with something useful if I were you...

Getting rid of any pot and any associated items would be a good idea as well...

Your boyfriend is going to need to cut his hair and buy a suit... And he's going to have to learn how to not only look clean shaven and neat but act it. He needs to learn how to be a respectable young man... An upstanding citizen doing his duty.

As far as the suit goes... Preferably tailored but no matter what it has to be a conservative cut. Throw it against the wall for half an hour or so... Try to keep it neat but stop it from looking brand new... Only crims in court wear brand new suits.

From now on cando you aren't boyfriend and girlfriend, you are fiances... It may seem small but I can't emphasise enough how many mainstream brownie points this will gain you... Especialy with the mainstream media.

Tell your parents what happened... Having someone who's been around a while to help can never hurt. Maybe they'll have some ideas... At least they will be able to tell their nice respectable friends what happened and how "outrageous" this is. Remember old people are bored and love crusades.

Start writing to newspapers and TV stations... The trashier ones will pick it up because it's a classic "The little guy only trying to do the right thing gets fucked over by heartless organisation". For more highbrow spreads you're going to have to be intelligent about it pointing out that the department that conducted this is already under investigation for police brutality etc will definetly get the newshounds on the scent. Do this to every news source that you can find no matter how small or backwater... If enough of them pick it up the rest will too so as to avoid getting beaten to the punch.

I mean in the grand scheme of things kuro5hin realy doesn't have that much effect... To realy make an impact you need to get your message out to the average joe on the street... And the only way to do that is to get into their news source

Check your libel laws... If the truth is an absolute defence tell everyone and everyone who this docter was. And I mean everyone. Even if you have to stick posters all over your city and take out full page adds in the paper.

Remember don't say " He got punished for doing what he thought the right thing" that's too complicated for most sheeple.

Say "He got treated like a common criminal for doing what was right by the docter" never even imply or hint at moral relativism. He was doing the RightThingTM . You need a powerful soundbite and a powerful message... a Wishy washy "Buuut we thought it was the right thing" just isn't going to cut it I'm afraid...

Emphasise that he was quite willing to give it back to this docter and take the cost of purchasing it himself... Every second sentence if you have to... That's where you're going to win the peoples hearts and minds.

Watch some Jerry and some Riki Lake... Your audience is mostly composed of people who think these shows are serious. Adjust your message accordingly.

Last but not least, you are going to have to learn to communicate. Currently your outrage is outweighing your clarity.

You need a more coherent attitude to get through to people... For the highbrows emphasise your explanation on exactly what happened (remember emphasise that he was willing to be out of pocket for this Ungrateful docter). For the Lowbrows appeal to their sentiment... A young upstanding citizen did what was right by a stranger and the stranger set a bunch of brutal thugs on him.

Remember the mayor is a politician and is quite willing to jettison inconvenient police to save her own arse... Use this to your advantage.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

Re: Operation Mindfuck (3.00 / 1) (#76)
by Pimp Ninja on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 11:20:19 PM EST

My god... Oh. My. God... And people wonder why there's such a low opinion of the maturity level of hackers and geeks.

-----

If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?


[ Parent ]
Re: Operation Mindfuck (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by cme on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 01:55:21 AM EST

Enh? That was *great*! Talk about hacking life! That *is* the way to go about winning in this situation. And really, it's the only way to win. As iGrrrl said in her comment on the article on workplace "profiling", you need to learn to play primate politics. The sad fact is that primate politics requires you to become trusted by acting totally normal and making every one of those emotional herd animals out there think you're one of them- and *then*, and only then, can you raise the disguise a little in an attempt to broaden their horizons. For those of us to whom primate politics do not come naturally, it can seem a dirty game, one that can leave you feeling filthy, manipulative, and evil. But you cannot change their natures, you can only play to them, in an attempt to fight your way to a position where fewer of them can hurt you.

Unfortunately, in this situation ronzomckelvey is at the mercy of the sheeple. That means that he has to play a dirty, manipulative game to win their approval and get off. And it is a dirty game; and Ron, you will probably feel much more sick and disgusted inside before this is over. But I really do believe that kraant's advice is good, and if you get a good lawyer and play your cards right you will get a little more out of this than you lost. It may not be much, and it won't be pretty or fun, but it's probably better than sitting and taking this ridiculous nonsense.

Trolling for sympathy, you say? Don't believe them, you say? Well, if it happened (and I think it did, call me gullible if you like), what would you *expect* them to do? If *I* were fucked over that hard (and I have been), I would be ranting even *more* bitterly than they! It would be all my friends heard about for weeks! The intensity of the feelings of helpless rage, bitterness, betrayal, and disgust that a generous person feels when slapped in the face as a reward for a kindhearted deed has to be felt to be believed. It was many events similar in theme to this one that finally caused me to lose my faith in the goodness of humanity. This is the sort of happening that changes personalities and beliefs and faiths forever, and can leave a miserable, bitter person where an open and kindhearted one once stood. Call me sentimental and silly if you like, but I speak nothing but the truth as I have experienced it.

Why do I believe them? Why am I astonished and further embittered by the rude posts here, telling them they got nothing but what they deserved? Why am I cheering kraant?

Because that could have been ME.



[ Parent ]
Re: Operation Mindfuck (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by ronzomckelvey on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 08:43:23 AM EST

Thanks for your comments and positive support.. I did get a lawyer and started the wheels of justice in motion.

It would seem, based upon NJ statute that my civil rights were violated. If this is how the police show encouragement for people trying to receive and return stolen property (as stated by the statute) then good luck. I doubt if anybdy would ever want to do the same.

If you think some of the comments here have been a little harsh, you should see them on the newsgroups.. to be a cop takes a special mind.

Here's a quote from one the messages:
Also, I can't imagine anyone that is a "computer consultant" giving out their name and phone number on the internet. Something just isn't right here -

Thanks for your comments.
ronzomckelvey

[ Parent ]

Re: Operation Mindfuck (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by cme on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 10:09:11 PM EST

Ye holy ghods! People are so rude and foolish. :(

Best of luck to you... make 'em pay through the nose, the bastards.



[ Parent ]
Re: Operation Mindfuck (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by ameoba on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 09:49:52 AM EST

Obviously a stupid question, but what's the point of going through all this hassle? Make the cops look bad? Get your 5-minutes of fame? Prove the that the world's not a utopian fairytale place? Spend the next N years wrapped up in a court battle, only to give 75% of any eventual winnings to the lawyer?

Is it really worth wearing a suit?



Oh, and you forgot to mention the ACLU, isn't this the kind of issue they jump in on?

[ Parent ]
I don't think so (2.50 / 2) (#53)
by Bad Mojo on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 10:29:54 AM EST

I'm sorry that Ron got arrested, but seriously, what did you expect? You purchased merchandise you KNEW was stolen. And you somewhow expect some police to just take your word that you were going to return the laptop? They've probably heard it a million and one times. NEVER try to end a crime by advocating it.

In my opinion, you should have gotten as much info about the seller and then reported him to the police. *THAT* would have helped EVERYONE out and no one would have been arrested.

I guess this proves that common sense isn't.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

Re: I don't think so (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by ronzomckelvey on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 10:35:40 AM EST

OK, I shouldn't of bought it, but I didn't know the party selling the laptop. They (the police) know all I know about the person. I can't tell them where I was at, I don't want to get anyone else in trouble.

If I didn't do what I did, then the laptop wpould of been gone forever more then likley.

I do know, if someone wanted to return my laptop, I would be happy to get it back.


[ Parent ]
Sorry to be anal but ... (none / 0) (#55)
by nictamer on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:01:34 AM EST

s/should of/should have/

You don't want the grammar police to arrest you now, on top of this?
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Re: I don't think so (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by Bad Mojo on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:51:28 AM EST

"They (the police) know all I know about the person. I can't tell them where I was at, I don't want to get anyone else in trouble."

You can't tell the police where you were at? I take this to mean that your location at the time would incriminate you. Sounds like a bad time to start helping out society.

"If I didn't do what I did, then the laptop wpould of been gone forever more then likley."

If you were trying to save a life, I'm sure everyone (even the police) would have understood. But essentially you were preventing the police from doing their job, which you pay for them to do. Had you returned the laptop safely, would you have helped the police prevent this crime from occuring again, or would you have let a criminal know that he can steal again and be assured another `sale'.

"I do know, if someone wanted to return my laptop, I would be happy to get it back."

Next time your laptop is stolen, thank yourself. It might be by the same guy you payed $400 to.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]
Actually... (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by royh on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 12:45:57 PM EST

Perhaps you should have bought the laptop and called the police (hey, even on your way to the ATM). You would still be caught by the police but you might have gotten the thief too (and been exonerated and gotten your money back). Although, that might have backfired too, if the police are more inclined to believe the thief, or less inclined to believe you. What a horrible position to get caught up in.

[ Parent ]
Never negotiate with terrorists . . . (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by whuppy on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:56:34 PM EST

. . . and never purchase stolen goods. Anything different, and you're just encouraging terrorism and thievery.

Re: Never negotiate with terrorists . . . (none / 0) (#65)
by ronzomckelvey on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:01:32 PM EST

I would think that dealing with a terrorist is a little different than a misguided youth..

Maybe something of yours will be stolen and someone might be nice enough to return it to you..

I know I can say, I've never gotten anything back that was ever stolen, and the police pretty much tell you the same thing.. It's gone for good.



[ Parent ]
NJ Code of Criminal Justice Title 2C, section 20-7 (2.00 / 1) (#71)
by ronzomckelvey on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 09:36:36 PM EST

I've been talking in the newsgroups, and this was posted by: Chris T. Harris

No crime was committed. New Jersey law encourages citizens to receive stolen property for the specific purpose of returning it to its owner.
New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice Title 2C, section 20-7:

"A person is guilty of theft if he knowingly
receives or brings into this State movable property
of another knowing that it has been stolen, or
believing that it is probably stolen. It is an affirmative
defense that the property was received with purpose
to restore it to the owner."


I feel this is an interesting piece of information.


link to statute in here (none / 0) (#73)
by ronzomckelvey on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 10:03:57 PM EST

link to the statute is here

[ Parent ]
You just CAN'T do a good thing anymore... | 81 comments (77 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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