Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    May 2015
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    Default Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Hi everyone,

    I haven't been here for a while and my previous thread a few years ago (I was looking for a gun storage) was a little too late lol. Luckily the worst is long over, but before I flip that chapter of my life and forget about it, I want to make sure I did everything I could.

    Long story short - a few years ago my ex decided to spice the divorce proceeding up by taking out a restraining order (aka PFA in Pennsylvania terminology) against me. Unfortunately this caught me entirely by surprise and things evolved way too fast after that. Despite the law giving me 24 hours to relinquish firearms after I received a temporary PFA, my local police decided to go full force on me and basically came to serve the order and confiscate guns at the same time giving me exactly 0 hours 0 minutes to even properly list firearms I had and/or prepare them for storage. My divorce attorney clearly recommended me to comply and let them have whatever they wanted to confiscate.

    Fast forward next 6-8 months, right before our lives got turned upside down with that tiny virus, the divorce was finalized, my PFA never went from a temporary type to a final one and got dismissed without any issues, I jumped through some other hoops to petition the court for a return of firearms and finally got that court order. Then there was a day I came to the precinct to collect my firearms and here came the unpleasant surprise - one rifle had a broken stock (literally in 2 pieces), multiple rifles had missing scopes, scope mounts etc. I declined to take posession of a broken rifle as the chief verbally promised me to get it fixed or replaced as it was clearly damaged while in their custody.

    Fast forward another... well, almost 18 months now - and nothing changed. I bugged the chief every time I kept running into him (going to the municipal building for other business) and every time he was giving me "oh... I thought you were going to check with the manufacturer" ... or "well, if your scopes were there, they are still... there... somewhere".

    Now I am kind of puzzled of what to do now. I had an amazing family & divorce attorney and she fought tooth and nail for me during the divorce itself (and got me out of it much better than I could've dreamt of), but it would be unwise to involve her in any "battle" with local police over a rifle and a handful of scopes. However... it is still wrong. I still don't have a rifle, two of my Nikon and one Bushnell scope disappeared. I am not even talking about scratches and dings on all other firearms - nobody was treating them like babies lol.

    **
    What would you realistically do in my shoes? Just forget/give up and let it go? Minus $1000, maybe, but with a peace of mind and feeling of being raped by the system? I don't even know who I can complain to - I mean, if it was a regular officer, I would've probably complained to the Chief of that police agency, but... we are talking about the Chief already. It looks like at least some procedures were broken multiple times during the process (i.e. with those 24 hours that would've been enough for me to remove all scopes/mounts and preserve them) which adds to the insult. With all the anti-police sentiment lately I would hate to be the one going against local LEOs, but... what else I can do?

    Thoughts?

    **
    And just two closing remarks:
    1) I am not necessarily looking for a legal advice - that's what attorneys are for (though I would appreciate any pointers), more like a friendly perspective
    2) My temporary PFA had no effect on my legal standing after it got dismissed - I got my updated LTCF the same day, so no issues here.

    Thanks a million!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    I*ll give my standard answer here that I give every time someone cries about *a certain gun store did me wrong*! WHAT Police Dept was it?

    Who are you protecting, and why, when you refuse to name names?

  3. #3
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    Jul 2009
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    Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Simple business decision.

    Add up the estimated cost of the damage.
    Decide if that amount is worth your time to pursue.
    Cheap Route: File a claim in small claims court and represent yourself, have documents showing replacement cost.
    Not Cheap Route: Hire and attorney to sue for damages.

    Decide what to do for yourself...
    Join the groups protecting your rights from the fools trying to take them from you!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    127.0.0.1, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Things went missing while in police custody. Contact the PSP to start an investigation into the thefts.
    Rules are written in the stone,
    Break the rules and you get no bones,
    all you get is ridicule, laughter,
    and a trip to the house of pain.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2015
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    Montco, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    At less than $1000, I'd probably try my hand at small claims court (if it's even an option), and then ask for time at the next township board of supervisors meeting (or whatever local government you have) and rant for as many minutes as I was given about how my property was either lost or stolen while under the supervision of the police chief, who obviously is either incompetent or corrupt. It won't change anything, but at leas the chief will get to endure a few minutes of being trashed in front of the rest of the township snoots.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2009
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    Chalfont, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    I'm thinking at least a complaint to the state AG. And a call to an attorney. Missing items from the evidence room is very serious. It's far more than a business decision.
    Crusader's local #556 South Central Asia chapter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
    (Dauphin County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by streaker69 View Post
    Things went missing while in police custody. Contact the PSP to start an investigation into the thefts.
    Is that line part of your stand-up routine? If not, it should be!
    Power always thinks...that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    -, Pennsylvania
    (Luzerne County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Thanks everyone for replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Royinmontco View Post
    At less than $1000, I'd probably try my hand at small claims court (if it's even an option), and then ask for time at the next township board of supervisors meeting (or whatever local government you have) and rant for as many minutes as I was given about how my property was either lost or stolen while under the supervision of the police chief, who obviously is either incompetent or corrupt. It won't change anything, but at leas the chief will get to endure a few minutes of being trashed in front of the rest of the township snoots.
    Thanks, I thought about going through small claims court, but every time I start thinking about it, I can't figure out how I would prove a) I had those items (e.g. scopes) at all and b) they were confiscated along with firearms and I have not just misplaced them myself. The whole process was quite hectic and as a result of it I literally got a handwritten note with a list of models and serial #s. There was another list I got later (printed out of their PFAD system), but again it only listed firearms and no magazines/scopes or any other accessories. I sure wish I at least took pictures of what they were confiscating, but I was directed to sit and not approach any firearms, so I respectfully complied (wasn't really looking to get shot, tazed or handcuffed in my own house).

    Township meeting sounds like a fun event - I should look into it lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manxdriver View Post
    I*ll give my standard answer here that I give every time someone cries about *a certain gun store did me wrong*! WHAT Police Dept was it?
    Who are you protecting, and why, when you refuse to name names?
    I am "protecting" myself and, I guess, my chances of resolving this peacefully without too much noise and pain. There's no big secret here, I live in Luzerne county and this was a municipality-level PD of one of the smaller towns.


    Quote Originally Posted by cdi View Post
    I'm thinking at least a complaint to the state AG. And a call to an attorney. Missing items from the evidence room is very serious. It's far more than a business decision.
    Thanks, I wasn't sure state AG has authority to go after municipality-level PDs. I'll look into this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_NEPhila View Post
    Simple business decision.

    Add up the estimated cost of the damage.
    Decide if that amount is worth your time to pursue.
    Cheap Route: File a claim in small claims court and represent yourself, have documents showing replacement cost.
    Not Cheap Route: Hire and attorney to sue for damages.

    Decide what to do for yourself...
    I hate to say it, but I understand that the cheapest route is to just let it go and forget it like a bad dream, however I feel this is a disservice to the public and my neighbors who live in this town...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Did you ever see someone shoplift something? What is the one thing they absolutely did NOT want to have happen? They did not want someone jumping up and down , drawing attention to the fact they had stolen items in their pocket.
    So , get loud and public, or whimper in silence. The choice is yours.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania
    (Washington County)
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    Default Re: Guns damaged, some parts vanished while in police custody - advice?

    Start campaigning to be chief of police.
    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

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