Dear PoP – Recovering Stolen Goods

“Dear PoP,

I live on newton between 14th and 16th, and had my car window bashed in last night (and laptop stolen) right outside my house. One of my roommates had the same thing happen a couple months back. any resources for dealing with this kind of thing?

I filed a police report, but any other tricks you know of to try to get it back? maybe pawn shops in the area or something?”

I’m sorry to hear about this. I can imagine how frustrating this must be. I hope folks follow my PSA and never ever leave valuables in their cars.

But to the original question – has anyone ever been able to track down stolen goods? Perhaps visiting pawn shops or craigslist? Any suggestions?

25 Comment

  • sorry for your loss, it sucks to lose data.
    however, the basic rule of living in the city:

    NEVER leave laptops, backpacks, cameras or anything of value in the car.

    try craigslist, maybe it will turn out.

  • Sorry. Let the bank know what happened and make sure you watch your credit cards.

    But no, you can’t leave anything for a second. I’d chalk this up to lesson learned.


    Here is a great story about how a Georgetown student got his stolen iPod back!

  • There are only a few pawn shops that will take computers… the one in Glover Park is one of them… Also make sure the police report includes the serial number and ask your investigating officer to run the serial number against the region-wide pawn shop database.

  • I used to think I was careful about not leaving stuff in the car to attract would-be thieves. Then someone busted out my car window to get about $1.50 worth of loose change from the cup holder. At that point I realized how far this rule needs to go. Leave absolutely nothing in the car. Period. They don’t need much of an excuse.

    • yep. i had my window broken so someone could steal CDs I burned myself.

      • Ditto, although they didn’t bother taking the change.

        • +1 million. Never, ever, ever leave anything in your car. I’ve had my window busted for pennies– literally pennies. once even for socks on my backseat. I don’t even keep things in my trunk.

      • +1 for CDs. Someone slashed my convertible top to take mine!!!

  • I saw on the 4D listserv someone who got their wallet stolen from their car. Who leaves their wallet in their car? A laptop? come on people.

    • I hate having anything in my pockets on long car trips. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve gotten home and realized later I’d left my wallet in the center console or the tray under the stereo deck. A little careless, yes, but I’d bet it was a scenario like that.

  • You may not be able to get it back, but it should be covered under your homeowners/renters insurance if you have a policy.

  • If you’re going to leave valuables in your car, I suggest leaving your doors unlocked. Locking them is just asking for someone to break your windows to get access to the whatever you leave out in the open.

    • People will bust the windows anyway.

      My dad’s car was broken into 7 times in 2 1/2 years (really popular-to-steal convertible). They’d break the windows or slash the roof before even trying the doors, which were unlocked.

  • Kiss IT GOODBY the chances of you gettin back is slim to none. There are people that can wipe it clean and reinstall the operating system. Never leave anthing in your auto.If you are that forgetfull leave your laptop at work or home. Please don’t be that stupid to think your window won’t get busted if you leave it out in the open(Im a Thug) HIDE IT AND OTHER BELONGINGS IN THE TRUNK

    • I would try to avoid leaving anything valuable in my trunk as well. Unless it’s groceries, if you are going to put something in your trunk to leave it there, put it there before you park your car. Don’t put anything valuable or attractive in the trunk of your car and then walk away.

  • I had my car windows broken (even though there was nothing in the car to steal) about once every 18 months for the first 5 years I lived here. I then realized leaving the car unlocked was the best way. They would simply open the door, rummage around and leave. Far more convenient than having to clean up all the glass and waste half a day getting it repaired.

    Cars are all electronically keyed and have Onstar, LoJack etc and are much harder to steal than every before. Just leave it open.

  • check craigslist regularly every day for the next two weeks, unless it’s a super nice model it will likely end up on there with a seller who answers the phone “WHO DIS?!” when you call to inquire about it. Then you can buy it back with the help of the police and find all of the porn and “safe penis enlarging” sites he has been visiting. Happened to me.

  • My house got broken into and I got lucky in that the police found the guy shortly after it happened and I got all my stuff back, including 3 laptops and various electronics. Good luck!

  • A couple weeks ago I absentmindedly left my iPod sitting in plain view on the center console in my car. I was shocked to find it still there when I got in the car several days later. On the other hand, my previous car was stolen on the same street a couple years before (and was eventually found being used as a getaway car in a shoplifting in upper NW).

  • Hee heee, get it back. That’s a good one, thanks, I needed a laugh…

  • I don’t know if they’ll have laptops but there’s a house near the Petworth Safeway that constantly has a yardsale sign. No one has that much crap to sell all the time – I think it must be stolen…

  • Years ago, during my wedding reception, I had a bunch of nice photography gear stolen from my trunk when the valet left the car unlocked. When I went to the police station to file a report, I told the desk officer that it must have happened between 11pm and midnight, because there was whipping cream on the back seat, my friends hadn’t whipped the car until 11pm, and we’d left the reception at midnight.

    I’ll never forget the officer’s response: he leaned forward, peered at me over the rims of his glasses, and said \Son, down at the bureau they call that ‘a clue’.\

    Needless to say, I didn’t get my gear back. I just finally saved up enough to replace it all last fall.

  • This happened to your roommate and you still left your laptop in the car?

  • that stinks – but why on earth would you leave your laptop in your car?

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