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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> I lent my equipment to a friend, he refuses to
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11/04/2013 02:43:09 PM · #1
Give it back.

Being a moron, I lent my Alien Bee's, brand new PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver a Tamron lens and umbrella's to one of my best friends and partner and of course, I did not have a contract, but have all the emails and texts.

He is refusing to give it back, I have the texts and email messages where he admits it is my stuff but is just not giving it back.

He is saying, ''It's mine now" Even got the email where he says that.

I have begged, pleaded, asked, requested and demanded my equipment back.

So what should I do, cus every avenue is so dramatic.

Should I ask him one last time : " Give my equipment back, or I will post it on every site we are both on, show every professional institute that you currently shoot for, turn up at your workplace with the police, show up at your house with the police, take you to small claims court"

Can I even say that?

I really do not know what to do, we live in a small community and everyone will see the drama, fall out, it will be the gossip of the year and no one here ever forgets that.

I just do not know what to do, I have missed 2 shoots as I do not have my equipment, I do not want to cause drama as I already have so much in my life right now.

I am just at my wits end.

Message edited by author 2013-11-04 15:00:06.
11/04/2013 03:00:19 PM · #2
So I'm assuming you are no longer best friends or partners, right? If you have the receipts, I'd contact the police, give them the receipts and emails and let them deal with it. Small town or not, he should be the one to come out looking like the thief he's acting like.
11/04/2013 03:02:36 PM · #3
Awww, Juliet - enough is enough!

Only suggestion I have would be to enlist the help of a trusted friend - say a clergyperson or even a police officer (whom you could approach unofficially) and - paper trail in hand - go visit your former "Best friend and partner."

Do it soon.

Maybe others have better suggestions. But yes, you must do something, quickly.

ETA: Kelli and I are on the same wavelength.

Message edited by author 2013-11-04 15:03:35.
11/04/2013 03:05:26 PM · #4
What does your "best friend" have to say about this?

You should send a final demand letter, certified return-receipt. If the person still refuses file a claim in small claims court. Keep printouts of all the correspondence.

You could turn it over to a private debt-collector.

I doubt the police will get involved, unless you file a complaint alleging theft, making it a criminal matter. I'd consult an probably attorney before doing this.

Save trashing his reputation as a very last resort as it will often backfire (libel and slander are tricky parts of the law).
11/04/2013 03:07:44 PM · #5
Its a civil matter, police may help, What about filing in the small claims court. Failing that a Lawyer is the next step.

Looks like your "friend" is now an Ex.
11/04/2013 03:09:57 PM · #6
Originally posted by Kelli:

So I'm assuming you are no longer best friends or partners, right? If you have the receipts, I'd contact the police, give them the receipts and emails and let them deal with it. Small town or not, he should be the one to come out looking like the thief he's acting like.


He totally was, always over my house , on my shoots, etc. Until I put my foot down after months of just asking for my stuff back, 2 weeks ago, I told him I had 2 shoots lined up and needed my stuff. He suddenly just turned and started saying he was not giving it back.

I am just so so sad about it, I lost in 1 might a best friend, a partner and 3/4 of my equipment. It is just devastating on all aspects. It still brings me to tears just thinking about it and I don't know what to do.

Too many emotions on my part, I want to lash out cus I am hurting, but asking for opinions instead, as everything right now is driven by hurt on my part.
11/04/2013 03:10:31 PM · #7
I'd just go steal it back...

Bump-key his door while he's at work.

ETA: Or follow him to a shoot where he's using the gear, and simply walk up and take it.

Possession really is 9/10ths of the law. Just don't admit to doing anything if the cops do get involved, and show the receipts.

Message edited by author 2013-11-04 15:13:06.
11/04/2013 03:11:57 PM · #8
Ridiculous! Not much of a friend. Sorry you are going through that. Only one avenue to pursue and that is to call the cops and press charges! Take no prisoners! This person is willing to steal you're stuff. See how willing he is when the cops show up.

11/04/2013 03:15:13 PM · #9
Originally posted by EL-ROI:

Ridiculous! Not much of a friend. Sorry you are going through that. Only one avenue to pursue and that is to call the cops and press charges! Take no prisoners! This person is willing to steal you're stuff. See how willing he is when the cops show up.


That's a fine idea in theory. But in practice the police won't help, since he didn't actually steal anything, and there's nothing in writing.

Aside from that, police do not want to get involved in this as it is considered inappropriate to use the 'color of law' for this....

The only non-extralegal recourse is civil court, and the e-mail chain should be sufficient. But that won't be fast, or cheap.

Message edited by author 2013-11-04 15:16:05.
11/04/2013 03:16:29 PM · #10
You entered into a verbal contract by which they are two differences as to the intent. If "reasonable" measures have failed then I'd suggest taking counsel from an attorney.

11/04/2013 03:20:38 PM · #11
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by EL-ROI:

Ridiculous! Not much of a friend. Sorry you are going through that. Only one avenue to pursue and that is to call the cops and press charges! Take no prisoners! This person is willing to steal you're stuff. See how willing he is when the cops show up.


That's a fine idea in theory. But in practice the police won't help, since he didn't actually steal anything, and there's nothing in writing.

Aside from that, police do not want to get involved in this as it is considered inappropriate to use the 'color of law' for this....

The only non-extralegal recourse is civil court, and the e-mail chain should be sufficient. But that won't be fast, or cheap.


Conversion is a action brought in civil court to recover the value of personal items of property, wrongfully converted by another to his own use. The action seeks a remedy for the conversion, not the taking of the item. If the items are of a unique nature, so that money canít replace the item, a writ (official order) of replevin may be sought in court. A replevin petition seeks the return of the particular items taken.

For civil cases, venue is usually the district or county which is the residence of a principal defendant or where they regularly conduct business, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident or harnful act took place. In a civil case, the complaint must be served on the defendant. In a lawsuit in which the case is against a specific individual, the court must have in personam (personal) jurisdiction over that person in order to try the case. To serve a defendant who is out-of-state, due process requires that the defendant have minimum contacts in the state where the lawsuit is filed. The defendantís activities in the state must be significant enough to make it foreseeable that he would be called into court in that that. For example, when the defendant has a place of business in the state, it is often sufficient to get personal jurisdiction over him.

If the taking of the property was with wrongful intent to deprive you of rightful ownership, it may be possible to file a theft complaint with the police department and sometimes the police can negotiate a return of the property without the need for theft charges to be filed.


eta: So, I personally would start with the police and take it from there.

Message edited by author 2013-11-04 15:21:57.
11/04/2013 03:23:56 PM · #12
having a small claims civil suit against you, no matter trivial, shows up in background searches and the like, and if he doesn't answer and you get a judgment, that really could impact credit and such, and you probably won't get your all your stuff back or in decent condition.

two words: Hire Cory.
11/04/2013 03:36:43 PM · #13
Originally posted by Kelli:

If the taking of the property was with wrongful intent to deprive you of rightful ownership, it may be possible to file a theft complaint with the police department and sometimes the police can negotiate a return of the property without the need for theft charges to be filed.


eta: So, I personally would start with the police and take it from there.

+1 It is the cheapest first step. Small Claims next. I assume the guy does not have very deep pockets, so getting a lawyer and trying to recoup legal fees & all that will be a pain. You certainly should OUT him to all of your mutual contacts. Aside from an ass-whooping, he needs to be ostracized. A-hole.

Never a dull moment with you, Juliet. ;-) Sorry about this situation. Don't let it consume your energy, though.
11/04/2013 03:37:28 PM · #14
Originally posted by blindjustice:

two words: Hire Cory.

Kinda what I had in mind too ... ;-)

Originally posted by GeneralE:

You could turn it over to a private debt-collector.
11/04/2013 03:40:23 PM · #15
No advice, but it sucks.
11/04/2013 03:41:29 PM · #16
Originally posted by Cory:

I'd just go steal it back...

Bump-key his door while he's at work.

ETA: Or follow him to a shoot where he's using the gear, and simply walk up and take it.

Possession really is 9/10ths of the law. Just don't admit to doing anything if the cops do get involved, and show the receipts.

I agree with Cory ;)
11/04/2013 03:49:10 PM · #17
Yup -- if you can't hire Cory, then I'd start with the police. All they can do is say no. After all, if you have emails saying that it's your stuff, but I'm keeping it, it certainly shows proof of ownership (well, not that emails can't be faked, but still).

Why bother the courts first?

Start with the easiest.

Man that sucks -- did this person ever show signs of being that big of an ass??
11/04/2013 03:49:46 PM · #18
Originally posted by blindjustice:



two words: Hire Cory.


that was my first thought.
11/04/2013 03:55:06 PM · #19
Originally posted by tnun:

Originally posted by blindjustice:



two words: Hire Cory.


that was my first thought.


Heh... Bump keys are easy enough to master, why not get the satisfaction of doing it yourself? :D

Really, just grab two friends and just show up at a shoot to collect - there's nothing easier, and it's almost certain that dude isn't actually going to put up a physical fight.

I'd recommend NOT involving the police first if you actually do have it in you to simply take what is yours. Once the police have had a report, then if he makes a report after you've taken it, it's essentially as good as a confession that you've stolen HIS equipment.

Message edited by author 2013-11-04 15:56:23.
11/04/2013 03:56:11 PM · #20
Originally posted by Cory:

I'd just go steal it back...

Bump-key his door while he's at work.

ETA: Or follow him to a shoot where he's using the gear, and simply walk up and take it.

Possession really is 9/10ths of the law. Just don't admit to doing anything if the cops do get involved, and show the receipts.


I like the second suggestion here. The first could see you done for break and enter, at the very least. Just take some muscle with you when you go and retrieve your stuff.

Good luck! (Art might arrange a burning for you??)
11/04/2013 03:58:19 PM · #21
Originally posted by jomari:

Originally posted by Cory:

I'd just go steal it back...

Bump-key his door while he's at work.

ETA: Or follow him to a shoot where he's using the gear, and simply walk up and take it.

Possession really is 9/10ths of the law. Just don't admit to doing anything if the cops do get involved, and show the receipts.


I like the second suggestion here. The first could see you done for break and enter, at the very least. Just take some muscle with you when you go and retrieve your stuff.

Good luck! (Art might arrange a burning for you??)


Speaking of this - jomari is quite right about the B&E method - damned effective, and non-confrontational, but risky.

Juliet, do you have the ability to know where he's going to be shooting and when? Otherwise it is a tricky proposition.
11/04/2013 03:59:35 PM · #22
Oooooh -- I do like the idea of showing up at a shoot and taking the equipment. How embarrassing!!! That would be soooooo cool! (don't break and enter, though. Why go to jail because he stole your stuff? But what's wrong with taking your stuff back if the shoot happens to be at a public place?)

And take video -- we want to see it!
11/04/2013 04:03:02 PM · #23
Originally posted by vawendy:

Oooooh -- I do like the idea of showing up at a shoot and taking the equipment. How embarrassing!!! That would be soooooo cool! (don't break and enter, though. Why go to jail because he stole your stuff? But what's wrong with taking your stuff back if the shoot happens to be at a public place?)

And take video -- we want to see it!


I like that idea, too. Maybe you could get another friend to "hire" him for a job so you'll know exactly when/where he will be.

What a really crappy situation. Good luck with it.
11/04/2013 04:04:27 PM · #24
Originally posted by vawendy:

Oooooh -- I do like the idea of showing up at a shoot and taking the equipment. How embarrassing!!! That would be soooooo cool! (don't break and enter, though. Why go to jail because he stole your stuff? But what's wrong with taking your stuff back if the shoot happens to be at a public place?)

And take video -- we want to see it!


Don't take video. Never mistake right for invulnerable - even just taking it in public is technically strong-arm robbery.

Again, if the cops ask, don't say ANYTHING.

I think ya'll need to watch this video - might save you from a conviction if you do ever need to talk with the police.
11/04/2013 04:09:10 PM · #25
I did know last week where he was working with my stuff, but I was too upset to do anything about it, as there was just so much crappolla going on.

NO I won't do a B&E or egg or key his car or pour sugar in his gas tank! =P

He has now unfriended me from FB, so not sure of his next move, but he did not block me. So I may be able to see where he goes next.

I was going to write him one last text , do you think this is okay to send?"

This is the last time, I will ask you for my triggers, lens, umbrellas, light stand and filters back. If you do not drop them off in 24 hours, then I will be going to the police to file a theft report. Then I will take you to court. I have deep pockets. If as you threatened you would like to bill me for the 45 mins of work you did on my irrigation system, then please do so and as I stated that I would be happy to pay your hourly rate. I shall be billing you for the five months of rental equipment and the two shoots of over $600 each that I specifically told you about and that I needed my equipment back and the documentations where you refused and even offered to buy my equipment from me. I will play this out.
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