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Feb 26, 2024 - 5:14:20 AM
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2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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My home on the US West Coast was burglarized during the President's Day weekend. Numerous instruments were taken, including my cherished 1992 Reiter Whyte Laydie No. 2., ordered new through Amazing Grace Music in Marin, CA.    I do have the serial #.

Also a new Reiter Bacophone Plus from the last year of production, a couple of Ramsey 12-inch brass hoop openbacks, a National Radiotone Bendaway woodbody resonator guitar.

It's a long shot, but please keep your eyes peeled. Too devastated to go into more detail. The accordions and guitars will be going straight across the border, I am confident, probably unloaded down there already.      Banjos, I don't know what the hell they think they will do with them.

Edited by - ceemonster on 02/26/2024 05:18:30

Feb 26, 2024 - 5:21:22 AM
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3522 posts since 4/7/2010

ceemonster

Sorry for this news. There are plenty of us that would like to help recover those banjos and none of us are interested in accidentally purchasing a stolen instrument.

Please post a list of the banjos with their serial numbers. If spotted, members can contact you with their whereabouts.

Bob Smakula

Edited by - Bob Smakula on 02/26/2024 05:22:53

Feb 26, 2024 - 6:37:58 AM
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1635 posts since 11/10/2022
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Im sure you have done this but report the serial numbers to the police and call every pawn shop in your area with the serials and descriptions. The cops will get those serials in their database that pawns look at.

I had items stolen years ago and the guy got caught hours later trying to pawn my stuff. He got 8 years, I got my stuff. I live near the Mexico border and was surprised they didnt head to Mexico. Cops told me most thefts are tweakers who just want pawn cash for drugs. Keep hope.

Feb 26, 2024 - 6:52:49 AM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

ceemonster

Sorry for this news. There are plenty of us that would like to help recover those banjos and none of us are interested in accidentally purchasing a stolen instrument.

Please post a list of the banjos with their serial numbers. If spotted, members can contact you with their whereabouts.

Bob Smakula


 

I am horrified at my poor record-keeping, but the one serial I have is for the Reiter WL #2:    #889

I have online receipts for some of the others, but they do not include serial #s.   I have no idea how a probably Mexican or Latino crew would unload banjos.   Accordions and guitars can go south of the border in hours, and be gone in minutes, as there is a significant market.    But banjos . . . I dunno.    Maybe they'd trade at Guitar Center.

Edited by - ceemonster on 02/26/2024 06:57:05

Feb 26, 2024 - 10:44:05 AM

Alex Z

USA

5769 posts since 12/7/2006

If the instruments were insured or scheduled separately, the insurance company may have the serial numbers. 
 

Good luck with the recovery. 

Mar 18, 2024 - 1:49:05 AM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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My stolen Whyte Laydie has just appeared on ebay with a "Buy It Now" and "No Return" tag. The Serial #889 is visible and it is the same case albeit more torn up. The wonderful leather strap I bought for it.    I want to buy it immediately to save it, and seek recourse later, but I do not want the people who ransacked my home over the Presidents weekend to know it is me. They are selling a Ramsey banjo they also took--at a ridiculous price, it was an $1100 Ramsey "Amish" brass hoop banjo from Zepp, delightful, but they have priced it at $3200.

 

 It is the Reiter WL I am frantic to save, I don't know what to do.  If I call ebay and make an emergency report now the people will disappear and I will never recover the instrument.

 

I don't know if the seller is a fence/receiver, or the actual home invaders.

Edited by - ceemonster on 03/18/2024 01:58:18

Mar 18, 2024 - 6:33:13 AM
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cevant

USA

391 posts since 2/5/2020

Get someone else to ask them if they allow local pick up, and get an address.

Mar 18, 2024 - 7:13:41 AM
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3522 posts since 4/7/2010

ceemonster

As the Reiter listing is marked sold, I assume you purchased your banjo. It is funny that the Reiter was a market price and the Ramsey is about 3 times the going rate.

I hope you used your credit card for purchase. My impression is it will be a little easier to get your money back.

I hope you have called the police and that they will go to the seller and do what they do with stolen property. Hopefully get your Ramsey back too.

With the seller having 2000 positive feedbacks I have the impression they are a legit seller, but made a mistake in purchasing banjos from a sketchy character.

Please keep us updated. we would like to know how this all turns out.

Bob Smakula

Mar 18, 2024 - 7:21:26 AM

190 posts since 9/5/2013

I sure hope you get all your instruments back, but these days it would be remarkable if the prep(s) received anything more than a mild reprimand.

Mar 18, 2024 - 7:25:49 AM
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Thank you, Mr. S. I agree it's odd about the counterintuitive prices on the two banjos. I paid through Paypal, which has some protections. But I spent 45 minutes on the phone with an ebay rep first.  They indicated I would have protection if my payment was taken without deliveyr, or if the item arrived broken.   

That person has documented the items and they will open a case of some sort. However, the rep said a week could elapse before ebay froze or took down the listing. The rep told me to go the police, which of course I will do. But I was afraid if I waited someone else would do a "Buy It Now on the banjo before law enforcement or ebay took action. Or, the seller and the item could simply vanish.

So, I'm waiting today with bated breath hoping the item ships and they send a tracking. The second that tracking shows it as in transit (as opposed to, awaiting pickup for transit), then I will contact law enforcement. Not that I think there's any chance of law enforcement moving quickly on something like this.

In today's Daily Mail, this item was definitely food for thought. I don't live in a wealthy enclave but I do live in an area with hillside or canyon access, and I do have a second story. And they noted of hundreds of recent burglaries perpetrated by these "burglary tourist" crews coming in from south of the border on tourist visas, there were a couple dozen last year in a neighborhood very close to where I live, that like my own neighborhood is not reputed as a wealthy enclave but has gentrified in the last decade and has plenty of hillside open areas.

Per the article, the delightful policy of "detain and release" or, "no cash bail" has been a bonanza for these people.  They simply cross the border and return again after weeks or months.     One crew member has been arrested and released several times in the last couple of years, apparently.



dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1...omes.html

Edited by - ceemonster on 03/18/2024 07:32:56

Mar 21, 2024 - 2:09:54 AM
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She is home. Looking beautiful, to my relief. Wood all still flawless but for a couple of dings on the rim cap that were already there. From the photos I feared there was water and/or other damage to the rim, which looked out of whack on one side, with a couple of hooks showing a lurid crimson. But it was just bad digital phone camera noise--the rim hardware is its same dulled but still silver patina. Two hooks have the faintest pink beginnings of a little rust that needs tending, and I guess that got exaggerated in the photos.


Spent two hours with a police detective once the package showed as in transit. As predicted by others upthread, they were pretty frank in indicating it could be some time before there was movement on the case. And they told me straight out that pretty much the only hope of recovering any of the items on ebay was Buy It Now without delay.   

I know Mr. Smakula thought the sellers might be honest, but the police had a different perspective. The detective said in their experience, once contacted by law enforcement or ebay investigators, sellers who are receiving and posting stolen goods of this type vanish, along with the items.     I'm not sure I can ransom the Ramsey even if the price goes down to a realistic market rate (they are lowering it a couple hundred dollars every other day or so).   

But priorities are priorities, and my dear friend is back.   A Pearl of Great Price, in more ways than one.

Edited by - ceemonster on 03/21/2024 02:23:34

Mar 21, 2024 - 3:36:53 AM

611 posts since 7/13/2008

Congrats on getting your baby back. I do, however, get suspicious about why a British paper is writing articles that portray our southern border issues as of concern to them. Seems they are going out of their way to demean a specific group of people. Did your police confirm that they suspected the robbers to be other than local?

Mar 21, 2024 - 5:21:57 AM
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Perhaps it is you who are making assumptions based on biases. The Daily Mail article quoted local law enforcement on the record, all over the place, or did you not read it carefully? Are you unaware that the DM has a US edition that emphasizes US stories pitched to US-based readers? Certainly they love the lurid alarmist stuff. But the quotes and facts in the story are verifiable.   Facts are not "demeaning."  They are facts.

As it happens, the Los Angeles Times and other mainstream news outlets have been full of reportage on this horrific situation.  The DM article just so happened to post the same day my instruments appeared on ebay.   You saw the note quoting law enforcement that they are targeting residences on hillsides or with open spaces nearby.  This is true of my residence.  Two days after the story appeared, relatives of mine who live on a cul-de-sac in the Griffith Park hills filmed an individual using water from a faucet near their garage door and slowly checking out the front and side thruways of their home and all homes on their cul-de-sac. 

I spent two hours with a police detective from the burglary unit yesterday. He had much more detail than the factual information and quotes from law enforcement that were used in the DM article. It is an organized, big-business, high-stakes phenomenon that has exploded in the wake of the, er, re-vamping of our state laws to eliminate consequences or even bail for those apprehended. Predictably to anyone with basic common sense, this has proved an incentive to enterprising criminals who have recognized a business opportunity and responded accordingly.   And yes, they are moving back and forth over the border including from Central and South America, it's not limited to Mexico.  

Edited by - ceemonster on 03/21/2024 05:35:55

Mar 21, 2024 - 5:56:26 AM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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Did the detective say he knew for a fact the crimes at my home were part of the reported phenomenon? No. He said what occurred at my home appeared to fit this grotesque scenario. And he had a lot to say about what is going on.

Mar 21, 2024 - 1:29:26 PM

611 posts since 7/13/2008

Just asking.

Mar 21, 2024 - 9:45:41 PM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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Peace. :)

Mar 23, 2024 - 3:53:08 PM

474 posts since 4/15/2006

Just curious, where did they send your banjo from?

Mar 23, 2024 - 5:32:11 PM

1635 posts since 11/10/2022
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I had two biciyces stolen and some tools from my garage back in 2002 by illegals. They rent houses in neighborhoods and keep watch. They then alert their gang friend when your not home. A friend of mine helped me follow them, they surprisingly went to a house in my neighborhood and parked their truck full of stolen goods in the garage. The police later said its rare for the takers to go to the watchers residence.

I was lucky, the police showed up with a warrant and arrested them all. Got my stuff back.

My son had his car stolen a couple years back in Tucson. To my surprise they caught the guy and his girlfriend accomplice shoplifting at a Michaels and called us to come get the car. Both were also illegals. One was deported the other got 5 years.

We got home and found the car full of stolen merchandise....guns, tools, clothes ... all kinds of stuff. The police when we called them about this stuff told us to liquidate or keep it. They claimed they ran the weapon serial numbers but I have my doubts.

Its a jungle down here on the southern border for those who are isolated from AZ and Texas. If you leave something in your yard, it will be gone in an hour if you live anywhere close to a city. Everyone I know has these things happen down here, unless you live in gated suburbs of the city communities with security, but it happens there to, just less often.

I now live rural with neighbors that arent welcoming if they dont know you. The police are ultra busy.

Mar 23, 2024 - 6:14:46 PM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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Welp. I've identified the individual/business who is selling my stolen items on ebay, and have turned the data over to the police. They included a return address on the UPS package that brought my Reiter WL back to me.   The label used the ebay business name, but the address was a pawnshop super-close to where I work.  From there I went online to the Better Business Bureau, which listed an owner name.    From there I did a public records workup on the individual, whose residential address history matched the "shipping from" or "item location" on the ebay listing.    

It's interesting--I wonder how law enforcement views the fuzzy line between, actively and knowingly working with the plunderers, versus having a damn good idea you are receiving stolen goods but looking the other way.  The seller has three pages of listed items, all of them a very fair bet to be stolen.   No way is this person clueless.

While I was at the police station this second time, a young man was at the window giving ID information for stolen tools from his private work shop or space about five minutes from me. He told me he is a set builder and he, his neighbors, and his fellow craftspeople in the film business are experiencing this stuff rampantly. He was completely disgusted and at his wit's end.   The stuff taken in his burglary--I should say, his latest burglary-- was very much of the type of other items listed by the ebay seller who has my  instruments.

Edited by - ceemonster on 03/23/2024 18:23:56

Mar 23, 2024 - 6:30:50 PM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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quote:
Originally posted by okbanjobill

Just curious, where did they send your banjo from?


 

Right in my own genormous megalopolis.  Up the freeway maybe 15 minutes from me if traffic is clear.  The location is on the ebay listing.   The return address on the UPS package was different from the location on the ebay listing, which is the residential location of the individual behind the business.  The return address on the UPS package was a Pawnshop even closer to me--like three minutes from where I work.   

I probably would not have rolled the dice on ransoming my Reiter WL through Buy It Now if the listing hadn't shown a location right here where the crime occurred.   Now that I've identified the ebay seller and their location, the police won't have to operate at a distance.   We'll see what happens.

Edited by - ceemonster on 03/23/2024 18:43:30

Mar 23, 2024 - 7:13:01 PM

1635 posts since 11/10/2022
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In AZ, pawn shops are required to do a 30 day hold AND check a stolen items database.

Thats why I said report to the police and call the local pawn shops to give them descriptions. Its hard to use a pawn shop as a fence here. Get caught once, pawn shop is closed.

Your location seems different.  Cops here arent super helpful but the civilian clerks will get your items in that darabase.

Edited by - NotABanjoYoda on 03/23/2024 19:14:52

Mar 23, 2024 - 7:17:01 PM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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The detective I took the information to yesterday did refer to certain legal requirements for records the police could follow up with, but I didn't ask them to elaborate, or for specifics about the steps they were going to take. But I'm curious to know how it's going to go.

Apr 14, 2024 - 7:50:52 AM

3522 posts since 4/7/2010

The Ramsey is still on eBay and the price has been consistently reduced.

Bob Smakula

Apr 14, 2024 - 2:48:52 PM

2014 posts since 4/10/2005
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quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

The Ramsey is still on eBay and the price has been consistently reduced.

Bob Smakula


 

Yes--FYI, there is a separate thread going about the Ramsey.  The Mods apparently thought the *Shopping Advice" forum was more of a fit. and moved it over there.  There have been updates including my attempt to scout the sketchy pawnshop on the return address for delivery of the Reiter, and my reports of that to eBay and law enfocement.  With no results, it seems.

 

https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/396494

Edited by - ceemonster on 04/14/2024 15:05:25

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