T Nation

Stop! Thief!

Yesterday evening I caught someone stealing materials from my builders yard which is beside my house. I confronted the guy, told him to drop the gear (some lead and copper scrap metal) and rang the police.

I followed the guy for 15 minuets through the streets we live on, listening in amazement to his ridiculous excuses for being on my property and telling him to stop where he was and explain it all to the police when they arrived.

Anyway, the cops never turned up and I had to let him go. A month previously exactly the same thing happened and it took the cops a full 24 hours to get round to my house!

On both occasions my first instinct was to give the guy a good hammering as Im sure many other people on this site would have done. Knowing the state of the law though and the likelihood of landing myself in serious trouble if I did so I decided to leave it up to the cops on both occasions, which didnt work.

In the UK today the law seems heavily biased on the side of the criminals and it isnt unusual to hear of a householder ending up in serious trouble for tackling a thief whilst the scum who invade your home and take your property get treated incredibly leniently.

In-fact they have no fear of the justice system and will actually laugh in your face when you tell them that the police are on their way. In the unlikely event they ever get sentenced they can expect a couple of hundred hours community service, a 50 pound fine or maybe if its their 10th offence a few weeks in the nick, which by all accounts is a pretty cushy deal anyway these days.

If, on the other hand, I had followed my first instincts and given the guy a damn good reason NEVER to come stealing from me again I could have landed myself in pretty hot water and ended up being sued by the thief and having to pay him lots of my hard earn cash.

The reason Im writing is to blow off some steam and find out what you guys would have done in my situation?

I think Ive got to the stage now where when it happens again (and it surely will as these people know where the yard is and that I cant possibly lock everything away securely) Im just going to have to take matters into my own hands… to hell with the consequences.

The other issue is that these guys are pretty nasty thugs, often desperate due to a smack addiction and as the copper who came to see me a day after the first break-in told me, almost certainly tooled up (i.e. carrying a knife or crowbar or both).

So next time I rush out of the house in the middle of the night in my pyjamas I might just happen to be holding my cricket bat… which again leaves me vulnerable to falling foul of the wrong side of the law myself, but what ya gonna do?

I dont fancy a confrontation with an armed desperado without any means of defending myself. In-fact, I went through the yard today trying to shift all the metal bars and other potential weapons that could be used against me, but its impossible, its a working builders yard.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant, would be interesting to hear how other T-Nationers would deal with the situation, especially other British posters who are exasperated with our justice system.

Next time you calls the cops, give it 5 minutes and ring them back - tell them you already beat the snot out of him and it’d be better if they sent an ambulance instead - I’m sure that’ll get them there in no time.

Sounds like you did the right thing.

[quote]rsg wrote:
Next time you calls the cops, give it 5 minutes and ring them back - tell them you already beat the snot out of him and it’d be better if they sent an ambulance instead - I’m sure that’ll get them there in no time.[/quote]

Cheers, Ive been thinking about something along those lines today actually. Or even better, I could tell them that one of my brake lights is out or that Id been doing 32 in a 30mph zone. Then I’d hear those sweet sirens coming!

This one time I found a criminal rummaging through my van. He stopped what he was doing, dropped what he had in his hands, then ran when he discovered me sneaking up behind him with a baseball bat. It was 2:00 in the morning.

Another time two junkies tried to rob me on my front stoop (stairs). I smacked one on the head with a Kryptonite bike lock. When the cops showed up (within 5 minutes), we drove around the block and found the two clowns strolling down the sidewalk. I identified them. A couple of months later I went to court, testified and they got 3 to 5 years.

I used to live in the South End of Boston near City Hospital. This kind of thing happened on a fairly regular basis.

In your situation-I would have broken the dudes arms.

We had a thief on a jobsite a few months ago. My crew and a bunch of other tradesmans tools started dissappearing one day. It was odd, because up to that day that jobsite had been very safe.

First a couple of expensive bit kits, then a sawz-all, a hammer drill, a couple of other drills, and from several crews. In total a couple thousand dollars worth of stuff.

The site foreman told us there was nothing he could do without some proof. So, I went up in a scissor lift about 20 feet from our job box and about 20 feet up, and along comes the thief. I watched and waited until he snagged another box of bits. I hollered at him and surprised the shit out of him, and started hollering for the rest of the crew to get him, which startled them because I’m pretty quiet most of the time.

The kid took off in to the parking lot, then split before we could get the gate shut. Then the punk has the balls to come back five minutes later(he was the driver for a crew of guys in from out of state).
He starts telling the site foreman that he was afraid that me and the crew were going to beat him up and thats why he ran. I countered that he ran and dumped the tools.

After a couple of minutes he finaly fessed up to stealing the bits that I saw him take, and in the mean time, a few guys went out and scoured the area. When they came back with the tools, the cops were called and the kid was taken in to custody.

It turns out that he had warrants in a couple of other states for similar incidents. Around here, that means No Bond, and stealing tools from a job site is taken very seriously in PA. I’m not sure, but my guess is that the kid is still in jail, and has a lot more to look forward to for his other warrants.

It doesn’t happen often enough, but sometimes the thieves get nailed.

I had a confrontation a few weeks ago, an anti-establishment choked me like a bitch and took my wallet. There was nothing I could do, I cancelled my credit cards atleast. . .

What the fuck is the deal with copper these days? I know the shit is worth a bit of money as scrap, but it’s got to the point where I’ve read in the paper about thieves climbing on top of restaurants at night to steal the copper piping going to the freezers and friges and shit like that. WTF. Damn tweekers.

[quote]ssn0 wrote:
I had a confrontation a few weeks ago, an anti-establishment choked me like a bitch and took my wallet. There was nothing I could do, I cancelled my credit cards atleast. . .[/quote]

It’s a shit feeling, especially when you can’d do anything about it. I’ve been mugged twice in SA, but the most they took was a crappy watch and a mobile.

Funny enough, tonight on the tube ride home a couple would-be thieves tried to rob some guy as they were getting off, but they never realised that he was with a group of about 6 others…they chased them but the bastards got away. They probably would’ve put them in hospital cause the guy was fuming when he got back on the train.

[quote]mazevedo wrote:
What the fuck is the deal with copper these days? I know the shit is worth a bit of money as scrap, but it’s got to the point where I’ve read in the paper about thieves climbing on top of restaurants at night to steal the copper piping going to the freezers and friges and shit like that. WTF. Damn tweekers. [/quote]

word. the meth people are all over the copper…wtf

If you don’t have any kids or pets, set up some painful, and effective booby traps, then once you catch someone, put up some warning signs all over the area before the cops come so you can say they were warned.

I can’t stand that shit. Every time I’ve called the police for something, they take their sweet time to get there, and tell you there’s nothing they can do.

I’ve had an apartment broken into and my car audio equipment stolen (just before putting them in, and it was probably the people I bought them from). Cops take a report and serial numbers, can’t do anything more.

I had my wallet stolen from my car, and my credit cards were used AT A GAS STATION THAT HAD CAMERAS!!! and the police said they couldn’t do anything even when I told them to check the video from the gas station. The transaction has the date and time that the guy bought gas!!!

I was assaulted by a bouncer after stumbling on their steps and they thought I was too drunk to go in. I didn’t argue, I just said I had to call my wife who’s inside. The guy slaps the phone out of my hands, across my face (assaulted me when I was leaving), so I went at him and 3 other guys throw me out on the side-walk (literally). I call the cops, and they tell me to leave before I get arrested. I wrote a detailed, well written letter to their station with no reply.

I’m all for taking the law into my own hands now, no matter what the consequences. That’s because of my personal experience, first hand, with unfair, lazy law enforcement in multiple cities across many states.

I even had a friend pulled over for LEANING! He was tall, so his head wasn’t any lower than mine would be if I were sitting straight, and he’s black and wears baggy clothes. The Virginia Beach police are known for their racism against blacks, and their prejudices against younger military members.

I’ve even had a few officers who were friends of the family. I got along with them, but only because we knew them. One of them even admitted to giving harsher treatment to someone who rolls his eyes at him, because it’s one of his pet-peeves.

[quote]mazevedo wrote:
What the fuck is the deal with copper these days? I know the shit is worth a bit of money as scrap, but it’s got to the point where I’ve read in the paper about thieves climbing on top of restaurants at night to steal the copper piping going to the freezers and friges and shit like that. WTF. Damn tweekers. [/quote]

It’s worth a good bit now. My brother is a plumber and has had to re-do entire jobs that had been ripped out over night.

I had to drive the supplies to the job site previously mentioned- A huge commercial refrigeration system with thousands of feet of copper(high diameter too), and a lot of people suggested I start carrying a side arm.

(a few $$ per lb.) x (a few thousand lbs.)= several thousand $$$$$.

England is going to hell in a handbasket. I am sorry to hear that you cannot properly defend yourself or your propertiy without fear of the law coming down on the criminals side.

Safest I’ve ever felt in London was when I was taking care of a friend’s German shepherd dog, hoodie twats that tend to cause problems wouldn’t go near us when I was taking him for walks.

If only I had the room for one now.

Next time, call the cops and say you shot the thieves with your trusty old .45. Since it’s illegal for the common citizen in the UK to possess a handgun, I guarantee you a much faster response time.

Well, why not get the equivalent of a junkyard dog … something mean to deter the thieves…or is that not feasible?

[quote]Ashes wrote:
Plenty of letters arranged to make plenty of words in several paragraphs.
[/quote]

You couldn’t kick his ass, then have a friend give you a few bruises so that you could say you were simply acting to defend yourself when this guy attacked you as you caught him?

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
mazevedo wrote:
What the fuck is the deal with copper these days? I know the shit is worth a bit of money as scrap, but it’s got to the point where I’ve read in the paper about thieves climbing on top of restaurants at night to steal the copper piping going to the freezers and friges and shit like that. WTF. Damn tweekers.

It’s worth a good bit now. My brother is a plumber and has had to re-do entire jobs that had been ripped out over night.

I had to drive the supplies to the job site previously mentioned- A huge commercial refrigeration system with thousands of feet of copper(high diameter too), and a lot of people suggested I start carrying a side arm.

(a few $$ per lb.) x (a few thousand lbs.)= several thousand $$$$$.
[/quote]

I hear that. I work for a general contractor and I know our electrical sub-contractor has been fucked by tweakers several times, even though our jobsite is owned by a municipality and is next to an airport (pretty good security).

A few months ago, a few reels of wire were stolen. The cops ended up raiding a house where they found the empty reels (using serial numbers). In that same house there were all types of shit for cooking dope etc. the worst thing is that there were children in the house.

Tweekers should be shot.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
If you don’t have any kids or pets, set up some painful, and effective booby traps, then once you catch someone, put up some warning signs all over the area before the cops come so you can say they were warned.
[/quote]
Good idea, if you want to be sued. Katko v. Briney, 183 NW2d 657 (Iowa 1971), “the law has always placed a higher value upon human safety than upon mere rights of property”.

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