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  1. #1
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    Texas Stolen Gun Info - What to do.

    To all members of Texas Gun Talk.

    Allow me to expand a little further upon my introduction and comply with a request from Alan (Texas1911)

    I work the pawn shop detail for my police agency. I am a reserve police officer for the last 29+ years. I worked patrol with the sheriff's office for 5 1/2 years from 1978 until 1984, patrol with my police department from 1984 until 2000. In 1993 I was given the task of working pawn shop tickets in addition to patrol duties and in 2000 was hired as the property and evidence officer until 2002. With my full time job and P/E I was working in excess of 76 - 80 hours a week and starting to be real cranky when I did not need to be. I went back to reserve status and remained as the pawn shop detail assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. I presently work from 12 to 16 hours a week. I am assigned cases regarding firearms recovery and firearms theft/burglary/robbery.

    Accordingly, I also deal with other stolen property along with other issues associated with pawn shop activities.

    When it comes to stolen firearms and maximizing your chance of getting your stolen gun returned to you (and I really wish to emphasize how much I want you to get your firearm back) I am listing some suggestions on what you should have for each and every firearm you own.

    1. A complete description of the gun to include:

    Brand - Kimber, Glock, etc.
    Type - handgun, rifle, shotgun, combo, etc.
    Action - pump, bolt action, semi, revolver, single shot, side by side, over under, etc.
    Caliber - self explainatory.
    Model Number or Name - Classic II, G19, etc.
    Serial number! - I cannot emphasize how important it is to have your serial number.
    Any Accessories - scope, custom grips, custom stock, sling, case, extra magazines, speed loaders, etc.
    Finish - blue steel, stainless steel, nickel, hard chrome, etc.
    Barrel Length - self explanatory.
    Sights - fixed, adjustable, front sight, etc.
    Magazine Capacity - self explanatory.
    Value - actual or replacement cost, I don't care.

    Any additional information YOU feel is important, the officer may not feel it is a big deal but if YOU think it needs to be included in the report, make sure it is included. Now most officers know what needs to be in the report but it is YOUR report.

    OK - if you don't know the serial number - and you should - where did you buy the gun? If it was from a Federal Firearms Dealer they will have the serial number. You need to know the date you purchased the gun as most dealers have their records by DATE OF TRANSACTION. This true even if the dealer has gone out of business. I can get that information, but will also need to know who purchased the gun. Have you ever pawned the gun? Because if you have, then the pawn shop will have the serial number. Have you ever had the gun in for repair? If you have, the dealer will have the serial number. It is essential to know when the gun was in for repair as most dealers have their records by DATE OF REPAIR.

    Another point, a large number of complainants (victims) are often very reluctant to actually accuse someone of the theft or burglary. I understand this but it is essential to me to know who had access to the gun (or any property for that matter). I explain to my victims, you are not accusing anyone of the crime, that is my job, you are telling me who had access to the property, I will do the accusing. Be certain to give the officer names of individuals along with contact information. I cannot tell you the number of family members and "close friends" who have stolen from my victims and I assure you I need those names. Now is not the time to hold back and be nice.

    Once you have filed a report, make certain that you stay in touch with the agency you filed the report with. One of my duties is called NCIC (National Crime Information Computer) validation. This means that we (the police department) must be able to make contact with the victim (complainant) on a yearly basis. If the complainant has moved, or the telephone number is no longer valid, then we are to remove the serial number once the statute of limitations has been reached. That means you are S-O-L. No chance of recovering your gun.

    If validated, guns stay in NCIC forever. I have recovered one gun from out of state, (Topeka, Kansas reported in 1979, Smith and Wesson Model 15, .38 Spl) and was able to return it to the rightful owner. I cannot tell you how good it makes me feel to do that for a citizen.

    If your gun is recovered by an agency other than the one you filed the report with, make certain your agency places a hold on the gun. If not, there is a possibility it can fall through the cracks and you do not get your gun back. This is particularly true if your gun, (no fault of your own) is used in a crime. Even if it is used in a crime, you still have the right to get your property returned to you. Do not be surprised if it takes a number of months or even years to resolve the criminal case. I had a H&K USP recovered in Tennessee where the guy was charged with UCW (unlawfully carrying a weapon) and it took nearly eight (8) months to resolve that case (a really simple case) before I was able to get it sent back to me for recovery purposes.

    I have attempted to cover the high points, and certainly have not covered all the different variations. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but this is what I do for my agency.

    If any one has any questions do feel free to make a comment and I will monitor this thread and try to help in any way I can.
    Yours in Service 1601
    I am a sheepdog!
    I wish I had a magic bullet for your problem but all I have are hollowpoints!

  2. #2
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    Would you like to explain the process of Magistrate's Court for recovery of stolen property? Some people may be surprised to learn that if recovered from a pawn shop, getting items back isn't always quick or straight forward.
    IISHOT1000 - 1000 round pistol 2009 - 2 May 2009, outside Forestburg in Montague County

  3. #3
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    excellent thread. should be stickied

  4. #4
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    Double Naught Spy is correct. Pawn shops have unique status in that they can request a property hearing, which may take several weeks or even months to arrange in large counties.

    The way it works in my county, (and it varies from county to county depending on how the District Attorney sets the process) I place a written hold on the property to be seized, with the pawn shop. Then I obtain an "Order for the Release of Property" from a municipal judge or justice of the peace. I use the municipal judge as his office is next door to the police department in city hall.

    Once I have the property in hand, I turn it over to Property and Evidence and it must be held for twenty (20) days to allow the pawn shop time to file for a hearing, should they choose to do so.

    If they file for a hearing, then the municipal court must arrange to contact the "interested parties", anyone that has a claim to the property.

    This includes:
    the victim (owner)
    the person who pawned the property - may not be the thief/burglar, just ended up with the property
    the pawn shop -
    the police department (technically it is ours until released)

    As you might figure, this takes some time and can add several weeks to the process.

    The hearing is held and the court decides who is awarded the property.

    Once the property is awarded, and it is not the pawn shop, we file for restitution as they are now a victim as well. This is real important later on.

    One of the ways I help my victims is to make absolutely certain I can prove that the item is theirs without question before I seize it and start this process. Remember I stressed the importance of the serial number. That is slam dunk, no brainer, proof of ownership. Otherwise it gets a little complicated.

    In other counties, the process is different and the victim has to buy the property back form the pawn shop (that way they are no longer due restitution) and the victim (again) is due restitution. Personally, I don't agree with this process but that is not my call or decision. I understand pawn shops not wanting to loose money, but risks are risks and in that business you buy stolen property (not intenionally I am certain) and I don't agreee with making the victim pay to get it back.

    Now I know the pawn shops I deal with are not crooked, in fact I have one shop that is a tremendous partner and has helped me solve several major burglaries.

    One last note, this does not even begin to address the issue of the criminal offense, only the civil process of returning property. If the gun (or any property) is physical evidence in an offense you can be looking at up to two (2) years before the offense is resolved in court and then the return process begins. We held a rifle (SKS) for four (4) years before the case was finally decided.

    I hope this has been helpful. If anyone has questions regarding the process in their county I would suggest you contact the District Attorney's office.
    Yours in Service 1601
    I am a sheepdog!
    I wish I had a magic bullet for your problem but all I have are hollowpoints!

  5. #5
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    pawncop, thanks for the info.

    You wouldn't happen to know if there's a way to speed up the process on actually getting a gun that has been recovered, but it still being held as evidence on a pending case?


    I have had my Marlin .22lr recovered and locked up in evidence for a year and a half while the suspect sits in jail, we keep getting the line "we can't release it yet, its evidence in a trial". This suspect has multiple charges against him, not only the ones relating to my rifle.

    I want my property back :hammerhead:


  6. #6
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    shorts,

    I am so sorry to hear of your situation, but there is no real way to speed this process up.

    I have had a number of firearms in our property room waiting for resolution of the case in court.

    We had a SKS rifle in property for four (4) years on a deadly conduct case that was finally resolved (disposed). The owner got the rifle back (he was not the suspect) which was a powerful lesson on the disadvantage of loaning your firearms out to folks you should not. When I left property, there were at least three cases pending where persons, other than the owner, had used loaned guns in offenses.

    Hopeully, your situation will resolve soon. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.
    Yours in Service 1601
    I am a sheepdog!
    I wish I had a magic bullet for your problem but all I have are hollowpoints!

  7. #7
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    Well, guess I keep on waiting. Thanks for the heads up though.


  8. #8
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    How do you know a gun from a gun show is not stolen?

  9. #9
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    Bluewave,

    Quite honestly there is no absolute way to know if a firearm is stolen, unless you get directly from the factory.

    Case in point I recovered a S&W model 29 that was stolen from a gun shop in Brownwood Texas.

    After I confirmed the theft, I seized the revolver from the pawn shop. Well as you can expect my person who pawned the revolver was not a happy camper and brought the receipt where he bought the gun from a local dealer. I made contact with the dealer to see where he bought the gun from and he got it from his son who bought it from - - -


    wait for it - -


    you guessed right - -


    Dallas Gun Show Market Hall.

    I have recovered another gun stolen in Tennesse that was purchsed new in the box (I mean papers, box, lock, the whole nine yards) at a Waco Gun Show. As it turned out there may have been a little fraud going on with that case and I finally returned the gun to the pawner as the investigator in Tennesse did not think it was a valid report, but that tied up the gun for almost a year before I could get anything done one way or another.

    So if you can get the dealer to show you his invoice your chances are improved not not certain. I wish I had a better way for you to check the stolen status of firearms purchsed but I do not have a fool proof way just yet, short of you having a friendly LEO check it through NCIC prior to purchase, but even that does not deal with an entry after the gun is checked by the LEO.
    Yours in Service 1601
    I am a sheepdog!
    I wish I had a magic bullet for your problem but all I have are hollowpoints!

  10. #10
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    I had a gun stolen from me a couple of years ago in Harris county, and was recently contacted by the Sherriff's office with a Q&A asking if it was still consdered stolen. How would you know if the firearm has been recovered if the investigating department is asking you for the disposition of the firearm?:texas:
    Children, pets, and slaves are taken care of. Free Men take care of themselves :fighting0002:

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