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  1. #1
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    need legal advice, re: extortion

    Hi Foosters, maybe some of you can advise me on a situation that I am currently involved in.

    I had property stolen from me and filed a police report.
    I placed a flier around town, offering a reward for information.
    Within a few days, I identified the thief and verified that the property was in his possession.

    With the assistance of a police officer, and without pressing charges, I secured the return of this property with the exchange of money.

    What makes this odd is that I had to barter with the thief himself, who was considering this his 'reward' for returning it.
    The police officer was the mediator in this deal.

    Although there was no implicit threat, ie: "pay up or else" - I felt that this was the quickest and easiest way to get my property back at the time.
    Now that I have had a few days to think about it, I am considering pressing charges against the thief for larceny and extortion.
    Do I have a case, or did I screw myself by paying up?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kestrelman's Avatar
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    Wha???? Oh - you live in Durham, where this is normal. Never mind.

  3. #3
    Senior Member crdean1's Avatar
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    yes you have a case. The police officer should be disciplined as well for 'bartering' an agreement. Consult a detective to press charges, if that fails, try a low cost attorney. This is not a complicated case from the way you make it sound. I don't know that you would get him for extortion, but you would get him arrested for theft if there is any evidence.

  4. #4
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    It's too late now. Once you paid him, it was an agreement to exchange money for the property. Perhaps it was just the point of getting your stuff back right away but if you had identified the thief and the fact that he had your possessions, I would have let the police deal with it. I would have never agreed to "pay" for the return of your stuff but then again I wasn't feeling your angst at the time, either.

    Consider it a lesson learned and let's hope that word doesn't get around how kind you are so you don't become a victim again. Good luck.
    Last edited by Siu Blue Wind; 08-14-07 at 11:55 AM.
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  5. #5
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    He sold you stolen goods. You should be able to sue him and get your money back. The police officer should be disciplined (i.e., once the property was identified as yours, the "finder" had not right to retain the property and commited a crime by trying to sell it to you).
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  6. #6
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    I think you could have a case. There could be no exhortion unless you loss something i.e. giving the guy money for your property. Extortion could be especially proven if the property was worth well more that the money that changed hands.

    Once the theif was made aware that you knew his identity he would be motivated to unload your propery thus never seeing it again. The actions you took secured your property.

    The Police Officer lives in the real world and knows that life is not as easy as right and wrong. Persons do not always receive justice in a court of law. If your intent was to get your property back then job done.
    Last edited by georgiaboy; 08-14-07 at 09:18 AM.
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    You can not "agree" to extortion. An illegal deal has no legal protection.

    The cop may have been on the take.

    Durham? It's Chinatown, Jack.
    Last edited by Krink; 08-14-07 at 09:44 AM.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  8. #8
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    I was worried about the cop, which was why I went through with the shady deal.
    I just wanted my property back, and thought that this was the way to do it, despite my ethical reservations.
    Police officers do not 'advise', but they certainly can 'persuade'...

    It was only this morning that I went to HQ and got a copy of the report.
    I got verification from the 'investigator's notes' that it was the thief who got the money, not the cop.

    There was even a 'receipt' believe it or not... and yeah, this form of "Durham justice" certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kestrelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by * jack * View Post
    I was worried about the cop, which was why I went through with the shady deal.
    I just wanted my property back, and thought that this was the way to do it, despite my ethical reservations.
    Police officers do not 'advise', but they certainly can 'persuade'...

    It was only this morning that I went to HQ and got a copy of the report.
    I got verification from the 'investigator's notes' that it was the thief who got the money, not the cop.

    There was even a 'receipt' believe it or not... and yeah, this form of "Durham justice" certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    Ha ha - At least you don't have Mike Nifong involved .

    But seriously - this sounds pretty dodgy even by Durham standards. Was it a lot of money? Are we talking grand or petty larceny? Have you talked to an attorney? I wouldn't talk to the cops anymore - they're gonna stonewall you.

  10. #10
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    The property is valued b/w $1000 and $1500.
    I paid less than 10% for its return.

    I have spoken with an ex-attorney who said I need to weigh my options.
    At the very least, I could press charges and see where it goes.
    It might not make it to court and the charges might not stick, but maybe I can get the scumbag in cuffs for an afternoon.

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    Maybe you can write it off on your NC state income taxes. Get the receipt.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  12. #12
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    You know where to find the guy? Cap his ass!

  13. #13
    Cosmic American
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    Just out of curiosity, when the thief was identified why was he not arrested? Whose idea was it to pay for the item's return? How did the officer get involved?
    I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag. - Molly Ivins

  14. #14
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LateNite View Post
    Just out of curiosity, when the thief was identified why was he not arrested?
    I dunno, I guess I had to officially press charges, having a report filed isn't enough to arrest, it seems.
    I actually thought he would be arrested, and then I would be asked if I wanted to press charges.
    I take full responsibility for not having this guy put in cuffs on the day the property was identified in his possession.

    Quote Originally Posted by LateNite View Post
    Whose idea was it to pay for the item's return?
    It was the thief's idea. He saw on a flier that a reward was offered, no questions asked.
    The officer went along with this, despite bad-mouthing the perp.
    Like I said earlier, the officer did not advise, but I was subtly persuaded to go along with this.

    Quote Originally Posted by LateNite View Post
    How did the officer get involved?
    He was the investigator assigned to my case.
    He called the thief, he called me, we bartered over the phone.

    Please be aware that I know I did the wrong thing, but I have never been in this situation before, and it was quite overwhelming.
    Now that I have my property back, I can think more clearly, and I'm really bewildered over this whole situation.
    Last edited by * jack *; 08-14-07 at 11:06 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by * jack * View Post

    It was the thief's idea. He saw on a flier that a reward was offered, no questions asked.
    The officer went along with this, despite bad-mouthing the perp.
    Like I said earlier, the officer did not advise, but I was subtly persuaded to go along with this.

    No it looks like it was your idea. You were the one who put out the flier, right? You were not preasured into this at all. What happened was exactly what any reasonable person would have hoped for, you just want to go back on your word. That makes any attempt at legal action very difficult.

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    Cosmic American
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    Now that I've read your account I can give a better opinion. I don't think you necessarily did the wrong thing. You probably facilitated the return of your property the best way possible. The officer was probably being pragmatic. You were willing to pay a reward and the police are probably overloaded with cases. He knows how hard it is to prove theft after the fact.
    I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag. - Molly Ivins

  17. #17
    Senior Member bobbyahines's Avatar
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    If you happen to have no moral compass, steal this dude's stuff... All of it...
    Mechanic/Service Manager for Hello Bicycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyahines View Post
    If you happen to have no moral compass, steal this dude's stuff... All of it...
    ...and offer to sell it back.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  19. #19
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    You can't press charges. Only the prosecutor gets to do that. Sticky little point, I know...

  20. #20
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Honestly, I'd be half tempted to give the thief a milk carton portrait for this (please don't do this...I know better than do what I feel like, I just have a hot head).

    Now on the thing to do, sadly since you bought it, that scres a lot of things....however you can see about if the way this was handlied is ethical.

    The cop should have confiscated the items, arrested teh individual, and started legal proceedings. Downside, it will take a long time to get your stuff back. That's why I think he wanted you to barter, ethics or not it gets you your stuff back in days, not months. The thief getting the cash and not getting charged is BS though and needs remidied immediately, and with the harshest punishments offered by law.
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  21. #21
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    If the officer found the thief, why did he let you barter?

    I'm confused.
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    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  22. #22
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    It's all predicated upon how much evidence there is at the actual event. A guy showing up with the bike and wanting the reward is not enough to prove guilt.
    Would you like a dream with that?

  23. #23
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic View Post
    The cop should have confiscated the items, arrested teh individual, and started legal proceedings. Downside, it will take a long time to get your stuff back.
    That's why I think he wanted you to barter, ethics or not it gets you your stuff back in days, not months.
    The thief getting the cash and not getting charged is BS though and needs remidied immediately, and with the harshest punishments offered by law.
    Quote Originally Posted by LateNite View Post
    Now that I've read your account I can give a better opinion. I don't think you necessarily did the wrong thing. You probably facilitated the return of your property the best way possible.
    The officer was probably being pragmatic. You were willing to pay a reward and the police are probably overloaded with cases. He knows how hard it is to prove theft after the fact.
    I think this is the linchpin of the matter. Excellent perspectives, and one I don't doubt for a minute. I truly got that vibe from the investigating officer, so I went along with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    No it looks like it was your idea. You were the one who put out the flier, right?
    That is partly true. I offered a 'reward' for info, not a 'ransom' for my property.

    All in all, this is quite a dilemma, and more confusing than you folks even know - I left out a lot of details, most of them irrelevant, but all of them complicating matters.

    Thanks for the advice and opinions. Over and out.
    Last edited by * jack *; 08-14-07 at 01:36 PM.

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