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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27451
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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When I was hospitalized in May 2013, my former housemate changed

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When I was hospitalized in May 2013, my former housemate changed the locks and stole a large amount of my belongings, approximately $6000-$7000 in value (maybe more). I did not discover the theft until early June, when I was out of the hospital for two days. I managed to remove what was left of my belongings before I was readmitted to another facility, where I stayed until the end of July; but was unable to go through them to inventory what all was missing. The officer who I called to witness the move-out stated in his report that she had stolen two computers, but there are at least 100+ other items missing. I was so ill until recently that my doctors have urged me not to try to deal with the stress of filing a police report, but as I am recovering I want to try to get this done if I still can. Do I still have time to file a report detailing all the items that were taken? Since there's probably no evidence that she took my belongings (I believe she threw most of them away or hid them with relatives), is it even worth filing the report? I've been advised it's not worth filing a civil suit because she has no assets that can be traced, so that would be a waste of my time and money. What should I do?


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a criminal lawyer.

Yes, if this incident only happened in May, you can certainly still file a report. Whether the police will pass it on to the DA for prosecution is another matter, but if that's what you want you can ask for it.

The police may see it more as a civil suit than a criminal matter and not be much interested in making an arrest, but I understand there's no point in a civil suit if the defendant is judgment proof. Still, whether the police are interested in investigating this or not, in case this person ever turns up again and tries to take advantage of you all over again, it's good to have something like this on file. It would make your case against the person stronger.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

In trying to ascertain what all was missing, I started making a list. That was two notebook pages long, and I keep remembering stuff that I hadn't before. If I do submit a report, should I list every item, line by line, along with the dollar value? (I'm thinking something like a spreadsheet). The list will probably end up being at least two typed pages long; will that be a plus, or minus, with the police? Or won't matter?



Hi Nancy,

It probably won't matter much to the police because -- and I'm speaking from personal experience when my apartment was burglarized years and years ago -- they pawn these things quickly and the police are not likely to find them.

But on the offhand that you see this person and recognize something of yours with her, then you've got it on record that it was yours and you'd reported it missing. That may help you to charge her with possession of stolen property and get something back from her.

Filing a report also matters if you had homeowners or renter's insurance because you should be able to get something back. Additionally unreimbursed losses due to theft are tax deductible, so that by reporting this with as much specificity as you can, you've established the fact of the crime. The report would support that you were entitled to the deduction if the IRS ever questioned it.

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