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Hot Rods My Stash was TRASHED.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jonnyhotrod, Sep 7, 2015.

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  1. Jonnyhotrod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2003
    Posts: 430


    Hello all. It's been some time since posting, but I'm in a bind and need your help! My cousin was storing a fair amount of my collection of parts and tools under her barn in Maine. WAS being the operative word, as when I went there to grab a set of rims, everything was gone. She had been storing the parts, tools and hardware for about 2 years in an unused (and still unused) space under her barn, in return for a painting, which I've been doing work on, and awaiting specific details I requested of her and never got. It was upon going there with my work so far and need for my rims that I discovered it had been disposed of. She wasn't home at the time of discovery, but about an hour later, I found her home and asked about the whereabouts of my stuff, whereupon she told me "it's gone... It's been gone a while". I then asked where it went and was told that the person who removed it "doesn't want to be identified"... I filed a police report, to no real avail... They cited a Facebook message she'd sent me last summer, saying she'd like the car ('39 Buick coupe) and stuff moved... I moved the car out 2 weeks prior to her request and spoke to her about the rest, to which she had no problem storing at that point, as I told her we needed to talk more about her artwork before I got too far, and she was ambiguous in her needs and wants. I'd fortunately gone there's number of times since to grab what I'd needed for various projects and had room for, or it would all be gone. Anyhow, she went around town and who knows where, trying to sell it all around the same time I last contacted her, and eventually found a "taker" as she says she didn't get any money for it... I'm permanantly disabled from birth with a rare arthritic like disease and have spent a good part of my free time and energy for the last 20 years piecing this collection together for my future, only to have it stolen and everyone is fine with it. I can't really work like most who retire dependent on a pension or 401k, so my SSDI and time at the dragway are what I get by on, with the occasional art sale. I'm nearly 40 and spent my healthier years picking as an investment as junkyards vanished. I'm at a loss and am reaching out to the HAMB community to back me up a little if possible... I want to take her to court, but can't swing a lawyer without risking everything. Any help or ideas are greatly appreciated. I'm going to leave it at that and hope that somebody out there can help me find out where my stuff went, as it's easily $20,000-$30,000 worth of stuff from the teens through the '70s, including a good portion of my '39 Buick Kustom project unaccounted for and either floating around or crushed. Thank you. I needed to vent to those who understand the magnitude of losing so much irreplaceable (or very expensive) stuff.

    - Jonny
  2. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,720


    Sorry to hear about your situation. Good luck.
  3. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,151


    Jon, terribly sorry to hear this. Other people have no idea as to the value of stuff we
    secret away for future builds. Have you been over to Blevens' bros. last Saturday of the month
    swap meet? Maybe some of the HAMB crowd could bring, or offer some 'components' for your next build...
    (Hope the coupe is running good!)
    FWIW: Jon spent over 11 years building his last project, a '30 w/a 413 Chrysler.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
    Jonnyhotrod likes this.
  4. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,460

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    I'm not a lawyer, but if I were you I'd start by building an inventory. As close as you can recall, what was there?

    Then, document what the agreement was that it was being stored under. Any updates to the original agreement as well.

    Before engaging a lawyer, does the police report say that the stuff was sold? Given away? Stolen?

    The person doesn't want to be named sounds like bullshit to me.

    Assuming the worst, the stuff is gone. Going to court is a major crap shoot, and with family involved it could be messy for years to come.
    Jonnyhotrod likes this.

  5. Hind sight is 20-20. You had a verbal aggrement to exchange your work (painting) for storage of your parts.
    Consult a lawyer regarding the legal aspects of a verbal agreement in NH. What I don't like is the fact she said: "it's gone... It's been gone a while". Unless you have serial numbers or an ID on each and every part it cannot be traced. I wish you luck.
  6. w/o documented inventory and such, there is no way to prove what was there besides your word and hers, sounds like its gone and it was a hard lesson learned. We have a shitty society and you just got a small taste of it.
  7. The biggest problem I see with this is possession is 9/10th of the law and being family and you don't have any paper work or contract.

    I'm afraid you are going to be hard pressed to get anything returned and hiring a lawyer your throwing good money after bad. HRP
  8. BradinNC
    Joined: Mar 18, 2014
    Posts: 213


    Your cousin has an honesty issue. Didn't notify you when your parts became missing, and she knows who it is? Pick your associates carefully, even if they are related.....
    Kiwi Kev likes this.
  9. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,386


    Your cousin sounds like a "real piece of work".
    She certainly does not deserve the painting.
    Hnstray and da34guy like this.
  10. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,542


    Sorry about your loss. For the future and the rest of us, document everything with photos and written agreements-even, or especially, relatives.You never know when situations, health or happiness, will change.

    Furthermore, I no longer post pictures of my shop, my car in front of my house or anything else that might lead someone on the internet to pinpoint my location. It also cracks me up how people on social medial tell the world, "Hey, I'm on vacation far from home!".You'll hear bout my trip when I get back.
  11. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,686


    My dad said family friends and money don't mix. Didn't listen to him and loaned money to a friend. It's still on loan!!!!
  12. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,684

    Stu D Baker
    from Illinois

    Sounds like your family moral compass needs to be tuned up.
  13. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,370

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    The "person that doesn't want to be identified" is clearly your Cousin. Does she have serious financial issues or a drug or gambling habit? Seen it happen with gamblers and tweekers. Usually when a relative steals big time, there's some serious lifestyle issues behind it all.
    For 20-30k, I would find a way to go after her. Is she a deadbeat, judgement proof individual, or does she have assets worth going after (own property, vehicles, bank account)? Does she have a record? Does she have a visible means of legit income/support?

    Since you don't have the financial means to sue her, I would check with the local BAR, law College and other community law groups that may be able to assist you with discounted or free representation. Talk to an attorney with a free consultation-they may provide some good advise on how to handle the case or even refer you to a law group.
    You're disabled; contact ADA for free advise. Are you a Senior? Possibly there is legal assistance for handicapped or Seniors that have been victimized.
    You also HAVE to press the police to pursue this, even if you have to pay an attorney $200 to draft a letter to the DA/Police. If you get no action, go to the State police or Governor.

    If all else fails, possibly, you can sue her in small claims in the max limit ($5000?). Once for the tools, then by sections of car parts.

    I would try to have an attorney run a background check on her. If she's taken a relative to the cleaners, I'm sure she's been up to no good for some time and may have judgement's and warrants on her. This could be how she supports herself.

    I would be on her like stink on shit eternally. I would not lie down and stand for being outright stolen from by anyone let alone a relative. I would press her for info as to who she sold your tools/parts to on the guise that "all you want out of this is to get back some of your stuff". If you get that out of her and recover one tool or part, you can call the police and have them respond on site, then attach that to the existing police report as proof that she admitted stealing and fencing your stuff. Then, they'll be more obligated to talk to you when you INSIST on speaking with a detective. It'll then be a criminal case. Frankly, the police are treating it as a civil case because she's a relative.

    Even though it's been some time, have you checked with local pawn shops for your tools? Even if they've sold, most jurisdictions require record keeping and I.D. to be taken on incoming goods.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
    belair likes this.
  14. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,213

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Well the only course I see, to put bluntly is to get even....
    Muttley likes this.
  15. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,386


    I am not trying to be a "smarty pants" but have you thought about
    Judge Judy. Trouble is she only awards $5K max.
    Oldmics likes this.
  16. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,460

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    Before going further with police, lawyers, and courts, is there a trustworthy relative or family friend you could engage to mediate? Keep the police and lawyers in reserve, if needed, but if your goal here is recovery of your stuff, maybe a quiet word from somebody she can't or won't ignore will be more effective in finding out where it went.

    This sucks, and I'm sorry you're going through it.

    Not excusing her, but if she didn't understand the value of your stuff, it may just have looked like a bunch of rusty old crap that was taking up space she wanted for something else. Somebody gave her $50 for it and did her the favor of hauling it away. The buyer may or may not know what he bought. That's your best case scenario if you want it back.

    Or, she knew the value, fenced it, and is now terrified at having been caught. In this case, documented evidence of what was there (pictures, receipts, even eBay auctions for similar parts) can be helpful in establishing value, for the police, lawyers, and courts. The more organized you appear to be, the less likely it looks like a legal argument over a bunch of rusty old crap in a barn.

    How about insurance? A lot of collector car policies include a "stuff" coverage clause. You might get something there, as well as some assistance with legal pursuits. Insurance companies don't want to pay out on claims and already have lawyers on staff.
    Budget36 likes this.
  17. Jonnyhotrod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2003
    Posts: 430


    Thanks to all who've replied so far. I was told by a lawyer it's a bailment relationship and that she was supposed to send me a certified letter to retrieve my stuff... I've got pics and emails and texts... Pics of the stuff, of it going in the barn... Been checking the swap meets. Currently compliling everything I can and have an ever growing itemized list.
    turboroadster likes this.
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,282


    Sorry for your troubles...hopefully, you can get something back.

    I guess the lesson for the rest of us, is to get our own place to put stuff, before we get stuff to put in it.
    Scooterville, blowby and Hnstray like this.
  19. enloe
    Joined: May 10, 2006
    Posts: 9,007

    from east , tn.

  20. Having been burned many times in my younger years, I learned to never trust anyone. Even if they have the best intentions, they will always put their survival as priority one. I agree with a previous poster, revenge is probably the only viable option.
    JB_roadrage likes this.
  21. crashfarmer
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,274

    from Iowa

    I'm very sorry. I know the feeling of discovering stuff you own has been misappropriated. I've been there too many times
  22. enloe
    Joined: May 10, 2006
    Posts: 9,007

    from east , tn.

    My das always said "Your friends and family will screw you because you won't let your enemies get close enough"
    chevy57dude likes this.
  23. Small claims court in NH looks to have a limit of $10k. That's if you can make a strong claim, and if she can pay if you win.
  24. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641


    There is also the problem of what a women says and what a man hears ... I have been in this situation ... The moment someone says we want your stuff moved ... Time to make it all go, cause they are done with it..

    Unfortunatly , being a verbal agreement I would be afraid the lawyer would be the only winner in this type of situation ... Good luck
  25. Kiss your shit good bye,
    Cut your losses and find a reason to be happy about it and move past it. Pick better relatives next time.

    Tring to get it back and being miserable over it will make your life shorter. Getting a lawyer will cost you money even more money you'll never see.
    turboroadster and norms30a like this.
  26. A lot of truth there.

    Might want to PM @worn shoes. That guy knows how to handle getting screwed.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  27. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,136

    from California

    sounds like you are screwed, the only thing left to do is seek vengeance without getting caught.:mad::mad::mad:

    I don't have much of anything but my junkpile. it would kill me to lose it all to a thief
  28. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,060

    from Nicasio Ca

    He's right. If you lash at the trash who dashed with your stash, there'll be no cash.

    Befriend her again, and inherit the property. ;)
    TagMan, Black Panther and norms30a like this.
  29. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,717


    Sorry you got shafted. Start over and don't look back. Enloe said some true words a few posts back.
    The ''get revenge'' comments are gonna shut your thread down.
    Jonnyhotrod likes this.
  30. Sorry to hear this. I was burned by a now ex girl friend some years back. Lost thousands. Take it as a hard lesson learned , and remember , LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE! Also, what goes around comes around......
    Jonnyhotrod likes this.
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