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 Post subject: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:02 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 342
Location: Kingston NY
Two of the three men arrested for copper theft at the Trolley Museum of New York last November, Clinton Padusnak and Julian Wynkoop, were handed felony grand larceny indictments by the Ulster County Grand Jury yesterday.

This was 3000' of 4/0 grooved trolley wire that these guys cut up and carried away last year.

As you may know, the electrification of the line at TMNY has been long in planning but slow in progress, but we've been saving up materials and parts over the years. Having 3000' of trolley wire stolen put yet another pot hole in our plans. It remains to be seen if restitution will be likely, but anyone wishing to help ease our pain can go to http://www.TMNY.org and click on the DONATE button to make a tax deductible donation.

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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:15 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
Posts: 728
Is it possible/ feasible to sue these creeps to gain restitution, or get some help through "proceeds of crime" seizures? Assuming they're not homeless junkies and actually have two dimes to rub together, of course.

It's good to see these guys convicted, but it'll be far better to see them pay for your losses.

Steve Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:38 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 342
Location: Kingston NY
There's been an ongoing dialog with the district attorney's office, and a museum board member is a retired lawyer. So we're exploring the options.

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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 746
Location: NJ
Always nice to have an attorney on the staff.

Later!
Mr. Ed


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:52 pm
Posts: 513
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
sbhunterca wrote:
Is it possible/ feasible to sue these creeps to gain restitution,


Having worked in an active courtroom here in Minnesota for 11 years, it is common for the judge to order restitution as a part of the sentence if the miscreants are convicted. The victims, in this case, need to tell that to the city/county prosecuting attorney. This has apparently been done. The nice thing about restitution being a part of the judge's sentence is that if the convicted crooks fail to pay it, they'll violate a condition of their probation and could most likely end up in jail. A felony offense carries a hefty time in jail/prison and that could be a positive factor in their working off the restitution.

If for some reason restitution is not ordered then TMNY can file a claim in small claims court, although 3,000 feet of 4/0 copper trolley wire may be worth more than the upper limit for such a court which typically doesn't allow lawyers to represent a private person.

The issue with restitution or a small claims judgement is collecting same. There are ways to satisfy a judgement and depending on local/state laws, this can include wage garnishment and confiscation of assets. In this case I doubt the crooks have the proverbial p-pot or a window to throw it out of. So I wouldn't hold my breath that the museum will get any kind of financial help out of these crooks.

Thanks!

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Jim Vaitkunas
Minnesota Streetcar Museum
www.trolleyride.org


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:24 am
Posts: 255
Location: H2O-town, CT
I'm glad to hear this! Atleast this judge took the crime these people did more seriously than most would. Did you kill anyone....no?, did you rape anyone....no?.....you just stole something and damaged a locomotive?........oh......ok.........here's a slap on the wrist, just don't do it again.

I have had several dealings with the police about scrappers/thieves the past year and when one of the forensic investigators (think CSI) showed up one of the times he flat out told me the scrappers are one of the worst to deal with. They are like rats, once you get one there's 5 more waiting to show up. Battery powered grinders and sawzalls are their friends, within minutes they could do thousands of dollars of damage.


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 4:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:05 am
Posts: 169
Location: Albuquerque, NM
The theft of copper and other metals (especially out of homes and other structures) has become a nationwide (if not worldwide) epidemic, and a lot of judges are now taking it much more seriously than before, so this particular judge's actions aren't a real surprise.

Still, it's ridiculous that it's taken this long for the legal system to recognize the problem for what it is and start acting accordingly (in some parts of the country, at least); faster action and stiffer sentences (including actual prison time, which too many judges either couldn't or more usually wouldn't hand out) could've kept this from skyrocketing like it has. Then again, it's hardly the first time (and damn well won't be the last time) that law enforcement and the justice system have taken what seems like forever to recognize a problem and deal with it; having idiot legislators who won't act as they should and deal with the matter, or (worse yet) get in the way by "helping" (as in "helping screw things up even more") hasn't done much for the situation either.

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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2355
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
You're lucky the police even made the effort to do anything other "give you a report for your insurance company". My workplace has been the victim of metal thefts a number of times. The most recent time I asked the officer about bringing in the CSI guys like on TV and he told me "we got murders and rapes we're trying to solve, we can't put any effort into finding these guys". I said, "there are only a few scrapyards around and these are such specialize things they would be easy to spot" and he said "go ahead and call them and let me know if you hear anything". Delaware's finest.

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Tom Gears
Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:29 pm
Posts: 11
Even when restitution is ordered by the court, payment is rare. We can't build jails fast enough. And, even if they do want to pay, few are able to get or hold a decent job post-release. Jobs for felons don't grow on trees.


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 8:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2072
the crooks have to make license plates, pay for new wire, go learn welding, weld some the stolen wire back together (if thats feasable) and then go to the museum and hang the wire, all volunteer under police direction. If this is possible, thats what they should do.


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:39 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 342
Location: Kingston NY
As a result of the publicity this generated, U S Senator Charles Schumer visited TMNY last week to hold a press conference to promote a bill he is proposing that will help prevent metal theft nationwide.

Press release: http://www.schumer.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=337756&

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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:44 pm 

Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 7:42 pm
Posts: 147
Location: Newark, Delaware
Sen Schumer's bill sounds great. It limits cash payments to $100, requires proof of ownership or authorization to scrap the materials. It makes it a federal crime to scrap metal from "infrastructure". Hopefully Congress and the President can agree on this one.

Does the scrap business have a strong lobby? There are so many scrap businesses out there that are about equal with the scrappers. It will become a game to for scrappers to get rid of the stuff before it can be investigated.

This won't stop the problem, but hopefully it slows it down.


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:51 am
Posts: 28
I agree with you that the bill sounds good, but seriously, when was the last time you heard of the President and Congress agreeing on ANYTHING? But there is always the chance...


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:51 pm 

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 10:27 am
Posts: 167
Location: New Haven Ct area
I read through the Schumer bill and found something really funny in there;
Quote:
Schumer’s plan stipulates that for those who sell scrap metal, the documentation requirement will indicate whether they own and/or are authorized to sell their metal, and only applies to metal products that would likely be owned by government entities or companies, and not private citizens.


Is it me or does the last part sound a bit goofy to you? I mean it is ok for the scrap yards to skirt the documentation requirements so long as the thieves make sure that it looks like the scrap copper they have was stolen from Grandma's air conditioner as opposed to a locomotive oil cooler?

The other possible bad feeling I have there is the $100 exemption. While there are some big organized scrap thieves out there stealing big stuff how much does the average theft of copper net the meth addicts? I wouldn't be surprised if it is less than $100. I wonder what common sense practical measures could be employed to fix the problem.

Does anyone know if the yards can be held liable for buying stolen stuff? I know with resellers of second hand merchandise hate buying stolen stuff for the liability it carries. It probably is a double edged sword though as if you hold the yard liable for buying stolen goods I bet it won't help make them want to cooperate too much with you when it comes to finding the stolen stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: TMNY: Copper wire thieves indicted
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:35 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2072
it may be hard to crack on the thieves who have already cut the trolley wire up, you may as well scrap it, but the scrappers are only helping the thieves by accepting it.
That puts them in the same league as the thieves.

The better idea is to have a holding area for accepted material and they get the name/number verified contact of the seller of the scrap material and ask questions where they got the material.
After a set amount of time and no opposition to the deal, the material could go to scrapping.

Reminds me of the EBT rail theft and the lengths thieves will go to "thieve"


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