A former girlfriend could try to go over the house with a police escort and attempt to remove the items she alleges are hers. However, absent a court order, law enforcement is unlikely to chose sides if there is a dispute over who owns what. If he will agree to what property he has retained that belongs to the girlfriend and she can get this in writing such as an email, law enforcement may be more likely to ask that the former boyfriend turn it over.
The best chance of success in regaining property would be to file a small claims action alleging "conversion" of the property or "trespass to chattels". These are civil causes of action to retake possession of property that someone has wrongfully taken or withheld.
Lastly, the former girlfriend could contact law enforcement and advise them of the situation and inquire as to whether they would file a police report for something like this. If so, the state attorney's office may actually file theft charges and then the woman would be very likely to get her property back or be reimbursed for its value through a restitution order.
I hope this answer was helpful.
I am the boyfriend in question. The furniture was purchased in her name, however I have cancelled checks in my name making payments on the furniture. She also had access to the house (she had keys) for 3 months after moving out and was in the house multiple times to reclaim any of her belongings. Unfortunatly I only have her past verbal agreement to keep the furniture and that she had recovered all possessions she had wished to. She unexpectedly today left threatening phone text and voice mail messages that she was coming at 9am tomorrow with a police escort to take the furniture. I have not responded in anyway. I believe it is a bluff on her part however I want to ensure that it is within my legal rights to refuse entry to her and any potential police escort without getting arrested. I plan on not even opening the door, and invoking my 4th amendment right, and advise anyone at the door to seek a mutual resolution in court where I would be willing to make my case. Would this be a sound move on my part?
Hello again Customer:
You are exactly, right, you don't have to open the door and even if you did, as long as you and she dispute who the furniture belongs to, law enforcement will likely not do anything to help her and she would need to file a civil action against you. If she does, you have a strong argument, absent a written agreement to the contrary, that it should be awarded to you because you are one that paid for the furniture and you can prove it.
By the way, she would have a very poor claim to allege theft of the financed furniture in this situation so I wouldn't worry about that, and she would have to file a civil suit as I said, which would likely cost her more time and money than the value of the furniture.
Good luck tomorrow!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).