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T confiscated because of engine number?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Noah*, Aug 16, 2013.

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  1. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,312

    from Nicasio Ca

    I had my Chevy stolen in the '80s. It was a big block, otherwise I might be calling Texas right now..

    You think they can still chemically pull the old numbers up through all that mess?
  2. It's great that you are able to get the engine out and get the vehicle back. What type of paperwork did you get from the police stating the reasons for the seizure? Take a minute and research google to figure out what actually constituted the seizure. You may find the loophole in the law that either allowed the seizure in the first place or the one that will allow you to get the engine back. We live in the world of information at your finger tips, go find it for free instead of paying a lawyer hundreds for work that could take you and hour.

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  3. This whole situation doesn't feel right. My initial response was to be really pissed. In fact, I was one of the people who advised the OP to "lawyer up." Since I first responded someone has posted the Texas law that applies to the situation (most likely). So it looks like the cop has some grounds within the law to do what he did.

    I hate thieves and I am all for recovering anybody's property that has been stolen and I'm glad that there are cops dedicated to recovering stolen property and catching car thieves. I don't hate cops, for sure.

    That being said, I guess what really torques me is the fact that a government agency can seize the personal property of a citizen without proof that it has been stolen. It seems like the burden of proof should be on them. If they are going to investigate, then fine, use whatever techniques they have to try to raise the original numbers that were stamped on the engine and match them to a police report somewhere. Definitely the numbers that are stamped on the engine are not the original and there does appear to have been an attempt to obliterate them.

    But, the original numbers on the block were not a VIN nor were they even a serial number. In fact, at this point there is no proof that the block even had numbers originally.

    Now, there could be any number of reasons that someone might have altered or removed the numbers in the past. While a little suspicious, it certainly is not proof of being stolen

    So, I guess the things that bother me are :

    1) The fact that that property can essentially be stolen from a citizen without an investigation and without proving any wrong doing.

    2) The law, as it reads, seems to be saying that if I stamped a number into something I owned and then later removed it, I would be breaking the law.

    3) The law, as it reads, seems to be saying that if a machine shop decked a block and the numbers were no longer visible, they would be guilty of a crime.

    4) The fact that we, as law abiding citizens, just accept these things.

    As others have pointed, the practical thing to do at this point would be to pull the engine and get the car the hell out of the impound lot before it gets stripped while in "police custody".

    It sounds like a hearing will be scheduled? According to the applicable law that was posted, it says that hearsay will be allowed in testimony. I guess that is supposed to make up for the fact that they can seize property without any proof? This whole thing, while it might be legal, is really a bunch of shit in my opinion.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  4. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 6,049


    A voice of reason in the wilderness!:)
  5. Those marks are from a air chisel or similar tool.
    If I was inspecting that vehicle I would suspect the engine was stolen (I am a vehicle investigator in real life)
    1. as above I would NOT have bought that engine in the first place.
    2. When registering an older car now, they sometimes use the engine number.
    3. When you go to court have ALL of your witness statments notarized.
    4. Kiss that engine goodbye.....
  6. gearheadbill
    Joined: Oct 11, 2002
    Posts: 1,313


    "4) The fact that we, as law abiding citizens, just accept these things."

    Amen brother!
  7. OK, I know this is going to sound like I am bragging, but I am not a lawyer.
  8. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,309


    Bogered #, you're at their mercy. Good luck, hope works out for you. I wouldn't hold my breath though.
  9. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,734

    Larry T

    The main thing that raises the hair on the back of my neck about "confiscated stolen property" is that (as I understand it, which could be wrong) after it's all said and done, the police can and will sell the property at auction.

    I have a hard time with the fact that no one can sell stolen property but them. Is it any more "unstolen" after they impound it? Don't think so.
  10. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019


    And what about the poor bastard that buys it and then tries to use it down the road?
    The number is obviously not the factory stamped number. My guess is whoever rebuilt the engine decked the block and then stamped his own number in it , so that he could recognize it in case it came back for warranty work. Why someone tried to obliterate it later is anybody's guess. Maybe to hide the fact that it was not a factory virgin block?
    I know I've stamped my initials and maybe a number on parts I've carried to the machine shop, in other than factory spots, just to make sure I got my own parts back.
    I just wonder how it would have went if he had the junk "T" block in it and swapped the motor after getting the title? Now no numbers match anywhere.

    I hate that this happened to you, but I do appreciate you posting about it.I know I learned a lot...mostly that I have no clue how the law reads in our state and how its enforced.
    At least you havent been charged with any crime...yet.:)
    Hope it works out for you.
  11. jimbanner
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 125


    Yeah that's a good idea. Bottom line is that this whole thing sucks but you at least need to protect what you can with your car so if you can bring it home by pulling the engine I would too. I wonder if once there is a hearing and you can prove that you purchased any internal parts of the engine like the crank and pistons if they'd let you take them out too before they scrap or sell or whatever they will do to the block. Sorry to hear about all of this
  12. OLLIN
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,076


    Would be cool if you had a frozen cracked block one you could just take with you to ditch there and keep the running one, but i guess that would be "tampering with evidence"
    This whole story blows.

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  13. Sphynx
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 1,142

    from Central Fl

    Man I'm sorry to hear this. OT but I have ran serial numbers on guns that come back stolen but with a little digging found that the caliber did not match and sometimes it would be that the numbers that come back stolen were for a shotgun and the one I was running was a handgun. Let's juste hope that's what turns out. I think if you can show where you purchased it then it should be yours as long as the original owner or insurance company who paid a claim don't want it back. If there is no victim there is no crime. I'm a police officer and right now i think your a victim.
  14. Car Fox
    Joined: Jul 28, 2013
    Posts: 27

    Car Fox

    Give me the vin or the block # and I will run it for you.
  15. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,693


    What disturbs me most about this sad saga - if it is completely accurate is:

    Where is the burden of proof?

    "The cop says" - that is not proof, that is hearsay plain and simple. If they accuse you of a crime - in this case possession of stolen goods - you are going to be taken to court then surely the local Police Department has to provide you with evidence of the police records and i.d number to justify why they are taking you to court. The law states you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So far I cannot see that your local law enforcement has provided anything other than hearsay to justify their actions.

    If I were you I would make a formal written demand, sent certified mail with return receipt for the actual police records indicating that this item is stolen. What is more disturbing is that the number on the engine is apparently not a serial number at all but a production number. If that is the case, please have the cop or, better yet, the Police Chief explain how they think that a production number is a form of identification and can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this is indeed a stolen item, when thousands of engines built the same day in the same plant will have the same production numbers....
  16. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,693


    Kind of you to offer, but we are told by some hambers on this thread that it is not a vin but it's a production number - see my post above....
  17. Lurk king
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 197

    Lurk king

    I have read through this thread and all I can say is, it looks like a classic example of when us hobbyists get cought up in the wide net cast by law enforcement, legislators and bureaucracy in general designed to inpeed criminals. Not some guy just putting a car together from disparate parts.
    Very unfortunate.
  18. ShoeStringFiftyThree
    Joined: Mar 5, 2013
    Posts: 36


    This may, or may not be the Law,
    but there are many legitimate reasons for removing ID numbers from items.

    One example is refurbished electronics & appliances sometimes have their serial numbers crossed out, or outright obliterated to prevent the buyer from putting in a warrentee claim as if the item was purchased new.

    It's also common for returned items sold for scrap.
    The manufacturer doesn't want the damaged item back, only demands that the retailer remove the serial numbers before scrapping or destroying it.

    Buying a refurbished stereo,
    or fixing one that was thrown away shouldn't make you a criminal.
  19. ShoeStringFiftyThree
    Joined: Mar 5, 2013
    Posts: 36


    what are the chances that the Nomad owner obliterated those numbers before selling you the engine, and you didn't notice, or forgot about it?

    He got a new number assigned to his car & engine, right? (would explain the non original stampings)
    Eventually he sold the engine to you.

    Maybe he didn't want the engine going into another car, then that car being registered with those numbers
    ^assuming engine would be put in a chassis that uses engine numbers to register.

    Obliterating the numbers would have prevented that unlikely, but possible situation from happening to him.

    Maybe I'm missing something,
    but other than that, WHO would have damaged the new numbers that were stamped on the Nomad engine?

    either way,
    good luck!
  20. stratocaster
    Joined: Sep 21, 2005
    Posts: 179


    Would the numbers have been changed to make the engine appear correct for that year Nomad?
  21. BubbaG
    Joined: Aug 4, 2013
    Posts: 27


    No. What I'm saying is that 30 yrs later, the motor has been passed around how many times, rebuilt how many times, used and abused and now someone, 30 yrs later is getting raked over the coals for something he didn't have anything to do with.
    The cop KNOWS what the motor came out of and that it was stolen at some point. So instead of sitting there making a guys life hell for a little while, putting a car in impound where it will have the chance of being damaged or God forbid have parts STOLEN off it, maybe the cop should do a little investigative work and find the original owner. Most likely the guy would say"Meh, insurance replaced that 30 yrs ago. He can keep it."

    Then do a little more investigating and walk back through where the motor was bought and before that where it was and maybe figure out what shit head stole it 30 yrs ago.

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  22. go get your car, a friend bought a 56 vette from a police auction it had been stripped of all the interior knobs and radio which are parts that are unique and are harder to find. police aren't the most honest people out there.
  23. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    Sounds like that douche bag wants a engine for himself.
    Sorry to generalize, but cops and sheriffs are for the majority a holes.

    They would rather spend time on something like that?
    What about the scum bags that are hurting kids and women?
  24. Rick Sis
    Joined: Nov 2, 2007
    Posts: 710

    Rick Sis
    from Tulsa OK

    That dinged up number pad looks more like a case of a frustrated amateur
    mechanic battling a squealing generator belt to me.
  25. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Dream on. I worked storage lots in Texas. You aren't allowed to remove anything from a vehicle or it's parts. You are allowed to get personal items. This guy is lucky he was told he could remove the engine, but I honestly don't think that will be the case. The cop may have told him that to smooth out a possible confrontation.

    Also, after 30 days, paper works is started for the auction process. One place I worked for was good at following those rules. I can tell you from personal experience, if I was told to get a car for an auction, it happened quickly. I was responsible for getting my employer some sweet rides. So, time is of the essence here.

    Take a look at the fees after just 24 hours. It could cost $250 to get a car the next day.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  26. spiderdeville
    Joined: Jun 30, 2007
    Posts: 1,134

    from BOGOTA,NJ

    sometimes - lo buck bites you in the ass
  27. spiderdeville
    Joined: Jun 30, 2007
    Posts: 1,134

    from BOGOTA,NJ

    and there has to be a statute of limitations
  28. gasolinescream
    Joined: Sep 7, 2010
    Posts: 614


    Lessons to be learnt rather than pointing fingers. The cop was doing his job. If I was a cop and saw that block with punch marks all over it would trigger my attention. It looks as hooky as you can get.
    They've been reasonable by letting you take the car and engine parts whilst they investigate the motor. I can't for the life of me see why or how you'd be taking them to court, they're doing their job and nothing else. Sucks but did they create the issue?
    Really hoping you can get it back and sort this all out which you probably will. I do feel for you as this isn't a good situation and there are lessons to be learnt. Without sounding harsh or mean your a victim for one reason. You said it yourself in your OP. "I never paid any attention to the number on my motor"

    Good luck and hope it gets sorted, just check the numbers next time:D
  29. Noah*
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 351


    Talked to the owner who had it previous to the guy I bought it from today. He said it was like that the whole time he had it. He is going to send me a letter stating that fact. Think he owned it from the mid 90s up til a couple years ago.
  30. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,429


    I'm the second guy saying take the offer,pull the engine and take the car right now. You can call a lawyer,you can bitch to the Police Chief,you can pray...But when the cops take something you are so fucked... It's just a motor...Dick around with the cops after getting the car .And store it safely other than your own property. Good luck !!!
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