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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102145
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I need advice on how to handle an issue of some stolen

Customer Question

I need advice on how to handle an issue of some stolen artwork. In 2008, a moving company moved my furniture into a storage. They moved from their original bulding into a new space in February 2013. They delivered my items to me in September of 2014 but 2 of my paintings were not delivered. I've just discovered it, but they are not able to provide accounting. I want to contact the police, but I also need to know what other legal means I have available to investigate the loss. How can I pursue this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) please wait to rate until I ask you to do so. It may take a few replies for me to be able to render an complete answer. I will let you know when I do.

I am sorry to hear about this. Can you tell me:

1) How much were the paintings worth?
2) Do you know if the moving company was using contract labor, or employees, or not sure?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Eli,
I just tried to respond. I don't know what the paintings are worth in todays market. They were two life-sized woodburings that were burned on a sheet of plywood ~(7ft tall - 5t wide) of Muhammad Ali... my brother painted them in the late 70's. I believe they were lost or stolen by someone at the moving company as they have not been able to account for them and they were never delivered to me. I don't know if the movers were contract or employees of the company, but they did have them in the inventory list (and even one of the movers commented on having seen them in a previous move I made with the company. The moving company is one used by my employer. I also need to know when and where I should file a police report, because I need a full investigation as to how these paintaings came up missing...
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Okay, I am going to assume that the paintings are worth LESS than $25,000.

There are two ways to go about handling this, and they can be done at the same time.

First, one can pursue this from a criminal point. This begins by filing a complaint which you already did. The police investigate and then pass the file on to the prosecutor who makes a decision whether to charge someone or not. This can take months and the decisions is not yours to charge or not, but the prosecutor's. This report should be filed ASAP and at the police station closest to you.

The other way is via civil suit, for conversion (civil theft). You would sue the company if they had their employees be the movers, as the company is liable for whatever wrongful acts the employees may do during their employment time via doctrine of respondeat superior.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith by rating me positively.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello! Just touching base to see if you still needed an answer and if you could reply to my query. Thanks!