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Author Topic: Got my own call from my Bus Orphange yesterday  (Read 3503 times)
Tim Strommen
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« on: March 07, 2010, 03:40:51 PM »

Well, first off it wasn't as bad as Kyle's experience.

I was working yesterday (Saturday, yeah I'm in computers, where there's no such thing as a weekend) and around 4:30PM - I got a phone call from the night-watchman at the RV storage yard I keep my bus at.  The conversation went something like this:

Watchman: "Hey, I was coming in for the night and I noticed a truck parked in front of your bus - is there supposed to be anyone at it today?"
Me: "No - is there someone in it?"
Watchman: "Yup"
Me: "Call the cops..."

Needless to say, I headed out from work early to stop by the yard.  When I got there, a few squad-cars and a tow-truck were in front of my bus-stall.  Some person I'd never seen before was in the perp-seat (back, with cuffs...).  An officer asked if I knew him, I told him no, and that he was sure as heck not authorized to be in my vehicle.  The officer then told me that it looked like a lock was cut on the bus, and asked me to see if anything was missing.  I went in and noticed my little generator that I use to power my work-lights and the portable welder (that was what was cable-lock locked to the frame of the bus), as well as a brand-new-in-the-box roof-air were gone.

I told the officer what I had not accounted for and he brought me to the back of the guys truck where I immediately found both of the items I had originally reported missing as well as a tool-bag of mine that I had not noticed as missing on the bus.  I told the officer that the generator and the aircon were mine as well as the tool-bag.  Fortunately, I had scribed my name in the handles of all the tools, and the bag had my phone number on the inside fold of a tag inside the bag so I was able to reclaim all of my property right then and there.

I made my statement to the cops for the record, gave an approximate value for the items taken (which easily made it a felony, $400 is the threshold in CA), and confirmed that I wanted to see him prosecuted fully.

No damage was done to the bus since it has no windows or floor right now, only the lock was cut - and that was partially my fault, he used my unsecured tools to cut the lock  Anyway, hes in jail I have my stuff back (and now its in my storage locker off-site), and Im only out a $30 cable lock.

Could have been worse.

-Tim
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 03:59:26 PM »

 Hope they throw the book at him.  I would be giving the night watchman a gift card for a dinner somewhere.
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 04:19:05 PM »

You need to make sure the cops know you want this dirtbag prosecuted. Call them several times a week to check on the status. They like it when the victim won't back down. All too many times, the victim gets most of their stuff back & calls it quits on the prosecution so all the police work is for nothing.

The dirt bag in my incident is still in jail & awaiting a preliminary trial. . . . .
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2010, 05:02:16 PM »

Well, first off it wasn't as bad as Kyle's experience.

 around 4:30PM - I got a phone call from the night-watchman at the RV storage yard I keep my bus at.  The conversation went something like this:

Watchman: "Hey, I was coming in for the night and I noticed a truck parked in front of your bus - is there supposed to be anyone at it today?"
Me: "No - is there someone in it?"
Watchman: "Yup"
Me: "Call the cops..."


-Tim

Good storage facility  Bravo for them for calling.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2010, 06:00:42 PM »

Technically, a felony is a crime against the state, not the individual.  You have no right to say that you do not want to press charges.  The police will write their report and move on to the next call.  However, making sure the prosecutors are aware that you will be a willing witness may help in their decision of how to proceed.  It is likely that it will be plea bargained to a misdemeanor though, like attempted second degree burglary.  It is not likely that a DA's office is going to want to put court time in on this unless you live in Mayberry.  If the prosecutor knows that you take an interest, he may try to drive a harder bargain, but don't count on it. 
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 05:27:29 AM »

I agree with a gift certificate or such for the watchman! I know that's his job but a little reward will insure your bus gets a once over daily!!
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 06:16:35 AM »

Hope they throw the book at him.  I would be giving the night watchman a gift card for a dinner somewhere.

I agree with Ed and Scott, but a face-to-face thank you and a handshake would go a long way as well.  =)  Gift card may rub his ethics wrong, but maybe not. 

Glad you made out so well.  I agree with Kyle, making sure the perp's name is on a message or sticky note on the DA's desk seems to help.  I had a prior experience with the clogged Calif court systems.  It was amazing how a few phone calls one day changed status on a case from credit time served to a full blown jury trial and some time in  Vacaville.  =)

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2010, 08:17:31 AM »

Might be a crime against the state, but the reality is that your voice (heard as a victim,) will have an effect on the case's priority in the system.

All too often the courts see things as "no victim = no crime".

The police officers I know would rather get the dirtbags off the street. Everyday, they see the effects of apathy towards justice. Every time the dirtbag gets caught & then released with no real punishment, it builds their confidence to do worse.

In my case, I have seen positive proof of my input.
If I had not pushed to press charges, there would be no victim & therefore no crime - felony or not.

Same deal when I paid someone for a bus who turned out to not be the owner - It was clearly a felony amount, & included interstate fraud - but If I wasn't in court, then there was no case. $1500 + 2 days off work for each court appearance meant that I couldn't afford to persue prosecution. In that case, I felt I was also victimized by the court system.

Tim,
If you make a big enough stink about this, word will get out to all the dirtbag thieves that you & this storage lot aren't worth the trouble since you will get caught & prosecuted.

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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 10:28:17 AM »

Absolutely a gift card, and a handshake. Doesn't have to be much, but you need to make the fellow understand that calling you on a hunch is much appreciated, and that even if it turned out to be a false alarm, he did the right thing by calling. Let him know, also, that if for some reason you hadn't answered your phone that he should have called the cops anyway.

Doesn't have to be a large gift card, but he'll appreciate the effort on your part and will be ever diligent around your property because he now knows you personally and respects you.

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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2010, 11:01:52 AM »

Technically, a felony is a crime against the state, not the individual.  You have no right to say that you do not want to press charges.  The police will write their report and move on to the next call.  However, making sure the prosecutors are aware that you will be a willing witness may help in their decision of how to proceed.  It is likely that it will be plea bargained to a misdemeanor though, like attempted second degree burglary.  It is not likely that a DA's office is going to want to put court time in on this unless you live in Mayberry.  If the prosecutor knows that you take an interest, he may try to drive a harder bargain, but don't count on it. 

I don't know what state your from but here in Texas it is not that way.  They prosecute all the time for burglary of a motor vehicle.  The victim has the right to say prosecute or not.  the victim is also aloud to apply for victim's compensation.  It is law here we inform the victim of his/her rights as a victim and what they are entitled to obtain through our victim's liazon.  THe state can not move forward without a victim.  I would imagine it is the same way in other states.  No victim no crime.  the only time we can move forward on a case without victim cooperation is with family violence.  We do not need a victim in these cases.
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2010, 11:05:32 AM »

A firm handshake and a small token of your appreciation will go a loooong way. He likely doesnt get many ,and you will be well remembered.

JMHO

Mark





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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2010, 11:52:00 AM »

The handshake, face-to-face thank you, and gift card are all nice ideas. 

I'd like to suggest that a note be written to the guy's employer. If security at the RV storage lot is handled by a third party, it wouldn't hurt to send it to both companies.  In these days of shakey employment, it never hurts to have something complimentary in the ol' personnel file. 
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2010, 01:15:30 PM »

The handshake, face-to-face thank you, and gift card are all nice ideas. 

I'd like to suggest that a note be written to the guy's employer. If security at the RV storage lot is handled by a third party, it wouldn't hurt to send it to both companies.  In these days of shaky employment, it never hurts to have something complimentary in the ol' personnel file. 

Best Idea so far, I tip my hat.
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2010, 05:34:23 PM »

Thanks guys, I like the idea of a gift card - the watchman is a private party hired by the storage yard, he's been there for years (since I first parked the bus there in '03).  I know he's a RV-er, so I'll probably get him a gift card to Camping-World or something.  I've also offered to help them with a "real" CCTV system (I used to install them for the likes of HP, Agilent, etc in the S.F. Bay Area).

I know quite a few of the cops here from my days working security at an electronics retailer, they know I mean business when I say "book him" Grin.  I also know several people in the local DA's office, so I'll be calling them to check in on the case until it's run its course.  I went to the PD station today and found that he had priors, for similar offenses - so my money is not on him getting an easy plea bargan out of it, also turns out the truck he was driving was stolen.

Not a good day for the bad guy... Shocked

-T
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2010, 06:24:41 PM »

I just read this thread, and I hope someone would contact me if something were amiss with my vehicles. I know the local police use the yard where I am parked to monitor speed, so they are there a lot, and I am so thankful.

I am glad you were able to prevent a major loss, because to find these things missing later would be hard to swallow.

Be very thankful, and let that man know his actions are appreciated. People are taken for granted too much these days.
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2010, 09:12:32 PM »

Tim -


Pelco?



I've also offered to help them with a "real" CCTV system (I used to install them for the likes of HP, Agilent, etc in the S.F. Bay Area).



 Wink
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2010, 11:03:48 PM »

Close call.
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2010, 05:26:43 PM »

Tim -
Pelco?
I've also offered to help them with a "real" CCTV system (I used to install them for the likes of HP, Agilent, etc in the S.F. Bay Area).


Probably not that "real" Grin...  I have a few 22x/35x Day/Night PTZ Pelco heads that I got on the cheap ($650 each) for my own stuff, but they will probably be getting fixed/hard-wired cameras even more cheap if they take me up on my offer.  Their Closed-Circuit-TV is about as minimalistic as it gets for now - a single "el cheapo" 2.4GHz wireless camera looking at the gate, powered by a wall-wart, that kinda goes into the office (just barely 10 feet, and struggling at that).  Also the watchman complained that the camera started acting up this past storm.  They don't even record yet.

I have a line on 8/16 channel "D1-realtime-H.264" recorders that are web enabled (even send video to 3G phones directly), and take 8x 1.5GB drives - all at cost.  Should be enough to record a few years of video without overwriting the old stuff.  For cameras, I've already pointed them at Super Circuits out of Texas, that's where I've been buying my odds-and-ends lately.  Entertainingly, I have a better CCTV system in my pickup truck than they have at the storage yard! Grin

A good recorder would give them the ability to see and save more recon than they get now, plus with neat built-in features like video motion detection, schedules, (etc), it should reduce the workload while improving response-time, and providing valuable evidence.  I also talked to a few Officers here and they have the Panasonic ToughBooks with 3G and internet-access in all of their cars, so with the proper setup, the cops responding to a call would be able to quite literally see what they are responding to on the drive over (they already watch their station while on patrol).

-Tim
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 05:35:15 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2010, 10:01:36 PM »

Tim -

Whew!  All that's a bit over my head!

I just mentioned Pelco because their main office is about 5 miles from me, and they're well-known here in town, being one of the biggest non-ag employers.

Oops, correction - Pelco was bought out by Schneider Electric, so technically it's their local main office, I guess?

At least Dave McDonald doesn't have to worry about where his next meal's coming from!  LOL. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2010, 02:38:23 PM »

This is a bit of a tangent, but for those who care:

Whew!  All that's a bit over my head!...


Allow me to clarify the lingo:

...22x/35x Day/Night PTZ Pelco...

22/35x = zoom.  With 35x, you can clearly read a driver's license on a counter 20 feet below the camera
Day/Night = Type. You can have three general types of camera: B&W, Color, and Day/Night (in "day" mode you get full color usually with an InfraRed filter over the sensor which reduces color blurring on each color by IR light, in night mode you get B&W without the IR filter to increase the light sensitivity and make it possible to use "invisible" IR illuminators)
PTZ = Movement.  P - Pan, T - Tilt, Z - Zoom
List on the SpectraIII (x35) was $2,500, but I found them Blow-Out/wholesale at a CCTV shop that was closing down Grin

...I have a line on 8/16 channel "D1-realtime-H.264" recorders that are web enabled (even send video to 3G phones directly), and take 8x 1.5GB drives - all at cost...

1/4/8/16/32/64 channels - this is how many simultaneous video feeds the recorder can record (usually from different cameras)

1/4-CIF, 1/2-CIF, CIF, 4CIF, D1 - the is the total resolution that the recorder can capture from a givev video feed (1/4CIF is 176x144 or 0.025 MegaPixels, D1 is 720x480 or 0.345 MegaPixels - with Standard Definition cameras .3MP is as good as it gets).  There are HD-CCTV products sold now that record at 720p (0.921MP @ 60fps) and 1080i (2.073MP @ 30fps) - as well as multi-megapixel cameras.

1/2/5/10/15/30fps( 30fps or greater is considered "realtime") - these are common progressive frame rates for video recorders, the faster (higher) the frame rate the smoother the video is.  the lower the frame rate the jerkier the video (and you can miss thing that happen between frames = bad)

MJPEG/MPEG2/MPEG4=H.264 (compressed) or AVI (uncompressed) - this is the encoding method for digital recorders to take a frame of video and store it as data.  This is different than say directly recording to a VHS tape which is also possible...

Web-Enabled - Some recorders are local viewing only, meaning a video display is directly attached to the recording device or some other video processor (like a 4-camera "quad", which puts 4 separate images on one screen).  Web-enabled recorders have a network or phone connection along with a separate encoder that compresses the video to be viewed remotely.  Some recorers even allow both at the same time, or even better - many people logged on with different permissions and viewing remotely, backing up pre-recorded video remotely to DVD, viewing locally, backing up pre-recored video locally to DVD all at once without one user's task interfering with another's task.

3G-RTSP - This is the 3G mobile broadband "Real-Time-Streaming-Protocol" which allows video to be sent from a server (video recorder, computer, etc) directly to a client (3G phone with video support like iPhone, or any new Google android phone) while maintaining video quality based on the link quality and available bandwidth.  You don't need to know how is works, just that it does work Wink

-Tim
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 02:40:07 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2010, 04:37:37 PM »

As mentioned the DA holds the cards.  Often these 'small' cases are assigned to new DA's that have an armload of cases and too often they plead out just to clear the own case load.   It's worth a try to urge them to go to trial.  Caught red handed-- easy conviction.  Or so it seems.

I have a similar story where I was an eye witness.  Took 2 days off work to help work up the case and testify.   Walking into court the DA offered a plea that was accepted and we were done.  My time wasted and the perp got off with a misdemeanor not the earned felony.   Cops were just as pissed as they had a long list of prior unsolved crimes tied to this individual.   Good Luck !!! and boy you are lucky.  Great job to the guard.
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« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2010, 12:37:46 PM »

Update:

Final outcome - I pressed the DA and the few PD officers I knew in the department, I found out the guy was previously a badly delinquent tenant (had a lein-sale on two spots, lost a boat and a trailer with several custom motorcycles in it).  Apparently he thought it was a good idea to get his value back by ripping off other tenants (including myself).  He made a threatening call to the RV lot stating that he would get his stuff back from them one way or another, but left a message on their answering machine to do so - I was able to convince the DA to use this as evidence of intent (a big deal), which jacked up a theft charge to a burglary (2ND degree).

On the advice of his public defender he plead nolo contendere (no-contest, aka. guilty), and will now be serving 12 months in county jail.

Since I got 100% of my stuff back undamaged, I won't pursue him civilly, but the storage lot will for damage to the gate - with a guilty plea on the burglary charge they should have a fairly solid case on him.  I have since offered to design and install a decent CCTV system for them (either barter for rental-time, or they pay I install and labor is free...).  I gave the security guard a $100 gift card to a local steak house and a $100 CampingWorld gift card, he's been eating well and picked up a few toys for his s.s RV.

All told, a happy ending (for me at least).

-Tim
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« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2010, 01:30:20 PM »

Good for you. I'm glad this all turned out well for you, and am pleased you rewarded the guard for his attentiveness. One more puke off the streets, though it would not surprise me to see
him out in 3 months or less.



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« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2010, 06:03:38 PM »

Yup, i also applaud your actions......and good to hear the results too. Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2010, 08:21:06 PM »

Good for you, my friend. It is so wonderful to see that both the bad guys get what they deserve, and the good guys also get something to show that their actions are appreciated.

Sometimes we have to stand up and be part of making a diffference, and I am certain you have done so here.

Keith
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