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Between a rock & a hard place...

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chocake2 replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 2:36 PM

I spoke to a  friend of mine who's fluent in legal-ese and he had another thought: "IF the value of  the stolen items is great enough to constitute a felony, the county attorney can act on behalf of the grieved party and seek compensation"   That'd save you having to go through small claims court. Best of all, you've already paid for his services with yout tax dollars, so it won't cost you anything to talk to him. You'll have to document the loan of the quilts, and their value, then look at theft laws for your state (available on-line) and see just what the felony theft laws are there, first.    For that matter, the county attorney can press civil charges where the sheriff's office can't, so he can put more pressure on her to find and return the missing tops.

Quilters are people who strip so they won't go topless.

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Mz M replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 3:15 PM

chocake2:

I spoke to a  friend of mine who's fluent in legal-ese and he had another thought: "IF the value of  the stolen items is great enough to constitute a felony, the county attorney can act on behalf of the grieved party and seek compensation"   That'd save you having to go through small claims court. Best of all, you've already paid for his services with yout tax dollars, so it won't cost you anything to talk to him. You'll have to document the loan of the quilts, and their value, then look at theft laws for your state (available on-line) and see just what the felony theft laws are there, first.    For that matter, the county attorney can press civil charges where the sheriff's office can't, so he can put more pressure on her to find and return the missing tops.

 

That sounds like good advice! If she can't be charged in Criminal court the county attorney should at least go after her in civil court. You may have a much better chance of getting your quilts back! Oh, I really hope you do!!!

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abbey replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 3:31 PM

I'm sorry to hear that your quilts were sold. That must be extremly frusterating. But I like you would probably just drop it at this point especially if you want nothing to do with this woman further. I am glad to hear that all but four of the tops have been returnedo their owners however and hope the other four are also.

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abcd replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 4:27 PM

chocake2:
then look at theft laws for your state (available on-line) and see just what the felony theft laws are there, first.    For that matter, the county attorney can press civil charges where the sheriff's office can't, so he can put more pressure on her to find and return the missing tops.

Great advice from Chocake - the thing is. if it isn't a felony (which is like murder or drugs) then it is a TORT.  There are criminal cases under felonies - such as the FIRST OJ Simpson trial - and then there are the TORT cases that can be won in CIVIL court - such as the second trial where the Goldman family sued - and won - the case of "wrongful death" against him. (Funny thing, he is now serving 33 years in prison for organizing grand theft to get his trophies back that he had sold.)  Anyway, that is the difference between felony and tort, and in either case, you HAVE a case....  somewhere, somehow - but since it involved more than one person, your best bet is to go to the DA and ask.  Usually they will see you for a consultation, and if there is a case against her, you don't have to pay a cent. (try the county attorney first, as Chocake suggested, but it might be big enough to go to the district...)  Good luck!

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chocake2 replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 8:07 PM

I don't know about where you are, but here it's a felony theft is the value of the stollen object is more then $1000 (I think). 2, well made,  full sized quilts are easily worth that!

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gini replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 8:46 PM

Value of items stolen
The distinction between felony and misdemeanor theft also usually depends on the value of the item(s) stolen. If there is more than one item stolen, then the total value of all of the items stolen will be used in determining the classification of the theft crime. Many states classify the different levels of theft crimes depending on the value of the property involved in the crime. Most state laws set a minimum value level of the property stolen in order to distinguish between felony and misdemeanor theft. For example, in some states, you cannot be charged with felony theft unless the value of the item(s) stolen exceeds $400, $500, or some other prescribed monetary limit. If the value of the property stolen is less than $200, for example, you may be charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Likewise, if you steal a brand-new automobile, you are likely to be charged with felony theft. Some states refer to this distinction between theft crimes based on property value as the different between "petty theft" and "grand theft."

gini in north idaho

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abcd replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 4:41 AM

Usually it is more than what small claims court will allow.  Here it is in excess of $3,000.  Anything that much and less you are counseled to go to small claims, unless you want to pay out of your own pocket for court costs.  Sometimes your home owners insurance will go after it for you, so you could check that.  I'm a paralegal, and have assisted attorneys in all kinds of angles in court cases, so it could also depend on your attorney, and whether or not he can propose a good argument.

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abcd replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 5:45 AM

OH, yes - I forgot.... it also depends on "malice of fore thought", which would mean,  is keeping the quilt what she intended from the beginning, or is it something that was spur of the moment as she was losing her store, and it was in her possession to use to try to KEEP her store? That would also be a determining factor for the "Is it a Felony or Tort or for small claims" issue.  

 AND - about leaving the quilt behind in the shop without trying to retrieve it sooner - what did the quilter do to mitigate her circumstances??  Did she try from the beginning to retrieve it, or shrug it off until it was too late?  The judge (and the county attorney or DA) will look at that, too..... there are just so many angles, and the law is made to bend and turn depending on how those angles are argued for change, or handled.....  The thing is, if you decide to fight it, do it whole heartedly, or else it is a losing case.......

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Georgia replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 12:04 PM

Today I got a call from one of the last four ladies and the last quilt tops were retrieved from the former shop owner yesterday afternoon and the owners have all been notified.  I discussed the options that all of you VERY SMART fellow quilters suggested (wow -- who knew how many legal options were out there!) with my DH and two of my close quilting friends.  You are all right about the value being well worth trying to retrieve my quilts but the truth is that this person had been a "friend" for over a decade before I saw her true colors while working with her.  I was devastated to find that I could be so easily fooled by someone.  How much work did it take to wear a facade for so long and why did she feel the need?  Many others were also fooled though.  I went through some truly awful emotions as things went downhill and finally reached the pinnacle where I felt the need to walk away and stop trying to salvage the relationship.  I did ask her for my quilts back at the time but getting them down off the wall just wasn't a priority to her and, in my devastated condition, I just couldn't face going back in to ask again.  If there had been any notice that the shop was closing, I would have been in there to get them for sure -- or at least asked someone to pick them up for me.  Of course, many people would have been in to pick up their quilt tops as well I'm sure.  It's just that the shop was open on Saturday, closed on Sunday and Monday as usual, and just never opened again.  Everything was completely cleared out in two days.  Even the landlord got the shaft.

After some serious consideration and discussion, I have decided that I'm just going to let it go.  I don't have what it takes to go through the emotional turmoil it would take to deal with the situation -- even though I do know that I should just on principle.

As for this person's reputation -- well, in our small community, nothing happens without comment from someone.  She knows what people are saying.  She lives just a few miles out of town and she never comes to town for shopping or general daily activities anymore.  I understand that she has even changed her doctor to a different town.  Her reputation is totally in the toilet.... as it should be in my opinion.  The fact that our town has a very small weekly newspaper and the sheriff turns in a weekly report on his activities for publication... well, that should take care of anyone who doesn't know what's going on.

Thanks again for all the help and encouragement.

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Sukochi replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 3:27 PM

Georgia, this is a decision only you can make. However, I have one last thought. On the off chance that she sold your quilts locally, write a letter to the Editor telling that your quilts were in "a"  shop, that just closed unexpectedly and you called the Sheriff, only to find that your quilts had been sold. Does anyone reading this possibly have bought one of them? Do not name names, or even the shop name. Then just sit back and see if one of your quilts could show up. No telling what that woman might have told someone who bought one of them about where she got them. A non quilter who never even noticed the shop could have bought one for a gift or such. Just a thought.

Sukochi

 

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Vivian replied on Mon, Nov 14 2011 12:03 PM

How unfortunate that the shop owner is going to be rewarded for theft.  No consequenses at all. She won't even have to look her former friends, neighbors and employees in the face because she can shop and visit elsewhere, where she can tell her "version" of the story up to and including how her employees "stole" from her forcing her to close her store.  People like that wil justify their actions anyway they can. She probably knew you wouln't persue it after working with you and correctly assuming you wouln't want the trouble.

People like that just make me burn. I know, I know, better to forgive and forget. Turn the other cheek. I am a bad person today. Check with me tomorrow.

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Sheila H replied on Mon, Nov 21 2011 9:59 PM

I'm sorry to hear that someone would do this to people they know so well, I'm with the other's at this point you would need to contact the police.

Tell them that all attempts to contact the person has resulted in no communication. The police will go to her house and shop to try and talk to her, at worst they would need to get a warrant to go into the shop -

Hope you all get your property back.

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