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  • Advise with a Big problem ???

    A customer (walk in) brings in a 100 yr old 'Luninburg" worm drive steering
    sailboat gear that has a lot of play in the center of the worm. It is quite
    big and heavy mostly brass and bronze about 3 feet, worm is about 3 inches
    diameter. Problem I 'think' it was brought in maybe April this year. Next I
    find the customer had shoulder surgery in May and recovery maybe June
    and July. About most of August I didn't even come out of the house big time
    alleagies. My son employs four in the main shop, machine shop is in the
    rear so somebodys always there. The part was marked and tagged and
    c clamped to the bench. Around Sept. it was gone? So with no tag I have
    no phone number or owners name. I presume he picked it up. So he pops
    in last week. I and employees have no clue, he says He did not pick it up.
    Building is secure well lit up at night, building 40x70 is between my sons
    house and mine. Odd thing is the C clamps used are machine shop items and
    they are where they belong, set up blocks etc are on the shelf. Its gone its
    too big and heavy to be swept under the table. So he ask's if we have insurance? I am retired sgt from this police dept. so now I know his name
    I did a record check & found he did time for mob activities. :red flag:
    Police report now in progress. My logic says if taken for brass scrap why
    not take a $1000 plasma cutter or even my truck. Problem with investigating scrap yards is the 7 month time element. My mind still says
    he had a friend or cell mate pick the thing up (a form of blackmail) allthough
    he is in mid 70's yrs old !!! If so my help would OK it being picked up I would say........watch me get a lawyers letter So what would you do??
    I say no one out of a million would not have a clue what it is or what its
    worth.. This is a first for me Sam

  • #2
    More likely it walked off with a visitor who saw an opportunity.

    Comment


    • #3
      " I am retired Sgt from this police dept. so now I know his name I did a record check & found he did time for mob activities.",..... I'd say misuse of (former) Police powers.

      How did someone get into you closed shop unnoticed? No alarm? How would a thief know to put things back where they belonged. Time to use your insurance policy unless an theft investigation proves otherwise.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
        " I am retired Sgt from this police dept. so now I know his name I did a record check & found he did time for mob activities.",..... I'd say misuse of (former) Police powers.

        How did someone get into you closed shop unnoticed? No alarm? How would a thief know to put things back where they belonged. Time to use your insurance policy unless an theft investigation proves otherwise.
        Misuse of police powers no my brother in law still works there. As for putting things back,
        most likely I did when we or I thought He or a friend picked it up after when I was sick. My problem is
        this guy waiting all this time like 7 months, we do have not responsible signs, fire/ theft also
        one way glass- double dead bolts. And any visitors are long time friends mostly police and
        fire.

        Comment


        • #5
          why'd they take the brass and not other things? they heard a buddy saying the scrapper was paying big bucks for brass and saw it there. Thieves aren't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer, the career choice is the first hint. As a former cop I'm sure you know that. imo its hard to have virtue making accusations with no evidence, perhaps even wrong - thats how everyone gets railroaded according to on my law enforcement education (TV) (lol)

          I've seen a few instances where things were stolen by pretty much passer bys, delivery man, service man etc saw something and grabbed it. Over the months I doubt anyone has perfect recollection of every person who darkened the doorstep. a 3' brass box isn't walking away under the jacket, but still, you do not know how many people saw it and had the idea

          Since you know the cops, can you report it stolen? Its going to be expensive to make a new one, so its value probably qualifies as some sort of major theft. The cops should ask around the yard/marina where his boat is, someone might know something or even have info that miraculously the thing is fixed and reinstalled.

          Other than that, call insurance and put up video cameras.
          Last edited by Mcgyver; 11-14-2017, 07:28 AM.
          in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by big job View Post
            A customer (walk in) brings in a 100 yr old 'Luninburg" worm drive steering sailboat gear that has a lot of play in the center of the worm. It is quite big and heavy mostly brass and bronze about 3 feet, worm is about 3 inches diameter. Problem I 'think' it was brought in maybe April this year. The part was marked and tagged and c clamped to the bench. Around Sept. it was gone?
            So, on the topic of machining, how were you going to fix that worm? Was the brass-bronze going to grow back from being clamped to the bench for months? Do you re-machine it to even out the form and then make a new nut?

            Years ago a family member dropped a nice German sewing machine off for service. The owner said it was just like his daughter's, except our machine had the special foot pedal. When the family member picked it up and got it home, her foot pedal had been swapped for the basic model.

            That experience underscored how the customer and merchant each need to protect against similar. With cheap digital cameras and phones, that is a lot easier. Both parties can snap photos of the merchandise during the transaction.

            Also, is it time for some cameras in your shop? Even fake cameras have their place. As far as good old fashioned process and paperwork, you'll probably agree you need more rigor. Now, if you had a piece of paper that says someone picked it up on a certain date, does that solve this? What if the guy says 'that wasn't me who picked it up. You still owe me.'? Does a scrawled signature prove who picked it up? Cameras would be better. Maybe this is a one off, and you just be more careful in the future, and don't bother with any of this.

            This scrap would be easy for someone to sell. You'd almost immediately notice the loss of a plasma cutter. And a truck is hard to sell. You're a cop, so you know more about schemes than most any of us.

            Since this is a business process issue, you might ask the question over on the practical machinist shop owner forum. Ask those business owners how they document these types of transactions.

            Comment


            • #7
              get online and find a used replacement. in the long run, you'll be miles ahead. seriously, been there.
              san jose, ca. usa

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by big job View Post
                Misuse of police powers no my brother in law still works there. As for putting things back,
                most likely I did when we or I thought He or a friend picked it up after when I was sick. My problem is
                this guy waiting all this time like 7 months, we do have not responsible signs, fire/ theft also
                one way glass- double dead bolts. And any visitors are long time friends mostly police and
                fire.
                Was the check done as party of an on-going investigation? No, it sounds as if it was requested as a favor by you.
                Misuse of Police Powers by your BIL, just as me asking my niece to put a BOLO out on you, just for laughs.

                How could someone come in to a business and remove a part without someone noting it and getting a signature?
                Not responsible signs don't mean squat, every restaurant has them. When they lose something, they and their insurance are responsible, just as you are.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a LEO myself, you did not misuse police powers, arrests and convictions are public record so the armchair attorneys can rest easy.
                  As far as the part, you said you tagged it? did you give him a stub? does he have the stub? Might be time to pull the old " No Tikey No Laundry" card. He very well could be pulling a scam on you with his mob background, or then he could be out of his mind and forgot he picked it up, or you could have lost it. It all boils down to what you can prove and what he can prove, but you very well may be having to pay or build a new worm. I would tear up my shop looking for the thing on the off chance someone needed those clamps and the part rolled into the corner.

                  Sometimes the best lessons learned in business are the expensive ones.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There's another option, but nobody wants to say it. That one of the four weighed it in thinking it had been forgotten about.
                    If I displayed masses of patience with a machine shop, then went to pick up my sailboat gear they had lost, and have the guy fire accusations at me about how I'd picked it up, I'd be mightily upset indeed.
                    I also had a similar situation once to the sewing machine earlier, I put (well my insurance company did) a rare semi race italian motorcycle into a shop for assessment and subsequent repairs after it was damaged in a accident and insured fully comprehensive. It took 6 months to get it back out, and I had to accept it without plastic repairs to the faring and paint to get it released in the end, and when I got it home it had normal production carbs in place of the rare race carburettors it went in with. They swore blind it never had them. I'd never put any of my bikes into a shop again after that experience. Assessor comes to my shop, where its parked for inspection.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
                      " I am retired Sgt from this police dept. so now I know his name I did a record check & found he did time for mob activities.",..... I'd say misuse of (former) Police powers.

                      How did someone get into you closed shop unnoticed? No alarm? How would a thief know to put things back where they belonged. Time to use your insurance policy unless an theft investigation proves otherwise.
                      I think its more likely somebody in the shop scrapped it because it had been sitting there so long. It may have been a legitimate mistake, or it may have walked off, but scrapping is most likely. If an employee they are not likely to admit it if it was a mistake, because they will be afraid it will get them fired. If it was misappropriation they likely won't admit it for fear of losing their job and a criminal charge. Even if it was misappropriated (as scrap) it might not have been intended as theft. Most shops don't seem to mind if employees take a few pieces off the scrap pile for their own projects.

                      Yes, definitely misuse of police powers... More accurately "misappropriation of police resources," because a criminal background check can be done legally at the cost of the party who benefits if there is legitimate cause. It can be as simple a cause as having decided to hire somebody or background in the case of a civil lawsuit.

                      Mob ties however is not even an inditment much less a conviction. I know people who are or were members of 1% motorcycle clubs. I know people who have trafficked in illegal goods. Some of that may have been "organized." I even know a person or two I suspect had people killed. An ex-cop who wanted to cover his own ass might accuse me of "MOB" ties. That might backfire as I spent 23 years as a licensed contractor doing a lot of security work including for some very large companies. I just know a lot of people. I am sure my name has come up in investigations of some of them. That is a red herring.

                      In my opinion as somebody who has literally been in business my entire life and who has had and been responsible for employees for a large time period... unless you can prove you or your employees are not at fault then you are on the hook for it. It was in your possession and you can't account for how it was disposed of. I know that sucks, but that's what it will boil down to.

                      Add on this: You know the customer knows people now. Whether he really has mob ties or he just knows a lot of people he obviously knows people. Do you really want him telling a few of his friends that your shop is unreliable? Its just bad business not to own up and take care of the problem.

                      Then reevaluate the shop operations so it never happens again.
                      Last edited by Bob La Londe; 11-14-2017, 11:16 AM.
                      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agree with Bob's comments. I would suspect an employee made the part disappear before believing my customer was trying a bizarre fraud play.

                        Do you really want to pi$$ off a guy who may have mob ties?

                        Bottom line, part was in your care and you cannot account for its whereabouts today. Man up and make the customer whole.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP didn't mention whether the part was fixed and waiting to be picked up or if it was just sitting there in the same condition as when it came in. If the latter I would believe an employee would think it was junk that no one would miss.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            big job, how far away do you live from Brian Rupnow? He builds a lot of things out of brass and bronze! You might just go have a look in his stock pile. He has a yellow roadster so he must be a member of a gang, right? Just sayin!
                            Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                            How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It can be difficult to know what to do. In my case I had a quite rare and very desirable bonnet ornament replated by a local electroplater but when I went to collect the owner of the shop said they had lost it and offered to pay. I said if he had lost it he should search for it and went away returning the next day and for several days afterwards. Eventually they 'found' it where it had 'dropped off the back of a bench', however I could see where someone had screwed on mounting nuts after it was plated. Hmmmm...

                              My suggestion is to thoroughly search for the missing item and have your staff search too. You never know it might just be in a 'safe place', if you know what I mean.
                              Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 11-14-2017, 02:50 PM.

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