• Empricorn@feddit.nl
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    2 months ago

    The most surprising part of this is they contacted the police department who obtained a warrant and actually helped them!!!

    • circuscritic@lemmy.ca
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      2 months ago

      The value of the items was either high enough to meet whatever internal threshold they have for opening an investigation or they were already aware of organized tool theft rings in the area.

      That, or they were bored and said “Fuck it, let’s do it”.

      • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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        2 months ago

        I wish they’d do that instead of stupid speed traps.

        Just this morning on my way to work, I was behind a cop, and they went 30-35mph in a 25 (everyone goes 35-ish on that road, it’s very wide). I know because I was following their speed, noticed I was over, then slowed down. They pulled over, then in my rear view mirror I saw their lights go on and they pulled someone over like 3 cars behind me who couldn’t have been going more than 35mph.

        How does that benefit anyone? I’d much prefer they “waste” time tracking down theft like this instead of taking down hardened speeding criminals on roads where the speed limit should probably be adjusted (it’s residential, but it’s one of the few connector roads and has tons of space).

        • vrek@programming.dev
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          2 months ago

          But… Theft is hard!

          Speed traps I can sit on my ass, get up every 20 minutes and get a bonus for how much revenue I brought in…

        • Maggoty@lemmy.world
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          2 months ago

          Because that’s not a speed trap, it’s a rolling checkpoint for drugs, guns, and warrants.

          • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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            2 months ago

            I highly doubt that. This was in a relatively low crime part of town, in a city with very low crime (about half the national average), and this particular road would only be used by local residents. It’s somewhat popular because it’s the only thru road for a mile or so in either direction with a school and a park, but there’s also just houses for a mile or so in either direction.

            Traffic is relatively low, the street is wide (one lane in either direction, but there’s room for two), pedestrians are rare (everyone drives), etc. So most people seem to go 35 despite it being a 25 zone (there’s a speed check sign at one end).

            If they’re looking for drugs or warrants, they’d have better luck elsewhere. We’re a constitutional carry state (no permit needed to conceal carry), so guns are fairly common and totally legal unless you’re a felon or a minor.

            This was on the last day of the month, so I think they’re just filling quotas.

            • Maggoty@lemmy.world
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              2 months ago

              Cops don’t care that it’s all locals. They don’t see you as safe unless you’re a cop too. And the very fact that they’re working a road they can just keep pulling people on tells me they aren’t looking for actual safety violations. They already use every stop to search as much as they can get away with. So when they’re conducting stops back to back like that it’s not a trap. They aren’t waiting for a reckless driver. They’re actually running a rolling check point, searching as many cars as they can.

              Stop assuming good faith from cops, they are trained to lie to you and extract information. The only time a speeding stop is actually a speeding stop is when someone is going faster than the flow of traffic by a lot.

              • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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                2 months ago

                A speed trap is a revenue source. If the cops wanted to find drugs or something, they’d go to the poorer part of town. This was in a suburban part of town near a wealthy part of town, so they’re not likely looking for drugs and whatnot, they’re just trying to get some easy speeding fines.

                Regardless, it’s unhelpful. I’ve seen multiple people get pulled over there, and they are not driving recklessly at all. I know where the cops tend to hide, so fortunately I haven’t gotten pulled over.

                And no, I’m not assuming good faith, I’m just assuming they’re trying to make some quota for the month, or maybe the officer is trying for a promotion or something. Regardless, it’s stupid and I’d much rather they spend their time tracking down stolen bikes or something.

      • ikidd@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        All the work was done and now they could announce a big bust with about an hours worth of effort.

      • Raiderkev@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        Or the guy said if u guys don’t, I will, and they were forced to actually do their jobs. I’d imagine probably more along those lines.

      • ChicoSuave@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        Or they had a few reports of missing tools and no leads when this guy shows up and says “I know where my tools are but you have to get them”. Of course they will help him with the hope it pans out.

        • mosiacmango@lemm.ee
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          2 months ago

          Of course they will help him with the hope it pans out.

          Nah, this is giving cops too much credit. People can have gps coordinates, video of crimes occuring, first and last names of thieves and plently of times cops do literally nothing past filing a report.

          • PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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            2 months ago

            Yup. My buddy owned a hellcat. That’s a $90k car, with like 800 horsepower. It was stolen. He had an AirTag under the seat, giving him detailed location data. He was on the phone with 911, and they were refusing to do anything about it. Told him to come down to the station and file a police report.

            Then he mentioned his handgun was under the seat. Cops were on the scene in less than 2 minutes, with guns drawn.

    • EarMaster@lemmy.world
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      2 months ago

      I recently listened to a story of someone in Berlin tracking his lost bikes (yes plural) using air tags. The police helped him because they were genuinely interested in the new possibilities to actually find stolen bikes. Before they just had no real chance to track any of the stolen goods and therefore weren’t able to help without relying on just heresay.

  • Nima@leminal.space
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    2 months ago

    for those that have trouble with the weird paywall jank on mobile:

    Twice before, this Virginia carpenter had awoken in the predawn to start his work day only to find one of his vans broken into. Tools he depends on for a living had been stolen, and there was little hope of retrieving them. Determined to shut down thieves, he said, he bought a bunch of Apple AirTags and hid the locator devices in some of his larger tools that hadn’t been pilfered. Next time, he figured, he would track them.

    It worked.

    On Jan. 22, after a third break-in and theft, the carpenter said, he drove around D.C.’s Maryland suburbs for hours, following an intermittent blip on his iPhone, until he arrived at a storage facility in Howard County. He called police, who got a search warrant, and what they found in the locker was far more than just one contractor’s nail guns and miter saws.

    The storage unit, stuffed with purloined power tools, led detectives to similar caches in other places in the next four months — 12 locations in all, 11 of them in Howard County — and the recovery of about 15,000 saws, drills, sanders, grinders, generators, batteries, air compressors and other portable (meaning easily stealable) construction equipment worth an estimated $3 million to $5 million, authorities said.

    “One of the largest theft cases not only in Howard County but in this region,” Police Chief Gregory Der told reporters recently, standing in a county warehouse where the reclaimed loot is piled neatly along walls and stacked high on shelves. “The scope of the investigation is enormous and ongoing,” the chief said, adding, “We believe the tools were stolen from retail stores, businesses, vehicles, residential properties and construction sites.”

    Though none of the prolific thieves has been arrested yet, Der said, “we are investigating several suspects for their roles in this massive theft scheme and expect charges soon.”

    “Yes, yes, I hope they do,” said the 43-year-old carpenter in Sterling, Va., who helped crack the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. “Jail for them.” Share this articleShare

    Howard police provided contact information for the carpenter, who said his home remodeling business employs 14 workers. He lost about 50 tools in the January theft and has gotten back a half-dozen of them, he said. He is hoping for more.

    “They don’t know what they do to me,” he said of the thieves. “They steal our job.”

    Seth Hoffman, a Howard County police spokesman, said investigators think most of the 15,000 or so tools were stolen in Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania. Howard County is just where they were stashed. He said about a quarter of the tools are in store boxes with labels that make them traceable. Some were stolen as long ago as 2014, he said. As for the thousands of loose and well-used tools now in the county warehouse, it’s hard to tell who owns them.

    “Oh, man, it’s basically every kind of tool you can think of,” Hoffman said. “Basically any kind of tool you can put in a car or a pickup and drive away with. I mean, it’s some kind of inventory.”

    Der said detectives have identified about 80 victims so far, “and we believe there are hundreds if not thousands more.” Police created an online form for people to fill out if they think their stolen tools might be somewhere in the piles. It asks for serial numbers, receipts, photos or any “identifying marks, initials, or numbers.” Authorities declined to discuss further details of the investigation

    As of Wednesday, Hoffman said, 140 forms had been submitted since police announced the recovery last week, and officers are trying to reunite victims with their implements. “A huge undertaking,” was how Der described it.

    “These thefts affect their livelihoods,” the chief said. “We’ve heard from victims who lost work because of their tools. It goes well beyond the cost of replacing the tools.” correction

    A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to AirTags as GPS devices. They are a type of locator device, but they are not GPS trackers. The article has been corrected.

      • beefbot@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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        2 months ago

        How DARE you remind anyone that a news source is BIASED (see my comment history where I get scorned for similar)

    • RememberTheApollo_@lemmy.world
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      2 months ago

      Cops patting themselves in the back for busting this theft ring while it was a regular citizen who took the time and effort to do the work the police couldn’t be bothered to do in the first place.

      • mojofrododojo@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        makes you wonder if they did know, but were incentivized to look away. How many years can a ring of tool thieves operate with that kind of take without attracting any kind of enforcement?

        I bet it was a perfect racket for cops to equip their own garages with some nice kit.

    • xthexder@l.sw0.com
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      2 months ago

      It’s sad probably 90% of this stuff won’t make it back to it’s original owner. Who’s still got serial numbers or receipts for something they bought in 2014? Most people will have moved on or had insurance replacements already

  • jordanlund@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    Some were stolen as long ago as 2014…

    Sooo… they were just stealing the tools and then paying storage unit fees to warehouse them? For 10 years???

    That doesn’t make sense… I could understand if they were stealing to re-sell, but that doesn’t appear to be happening here.

    • trolololol@lemmy.world
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      2 months ago

      Plot twist they didn’t want to sell, they were simple plain owners of hardware store and profited from selling new tools

    • blargerer@kbin.social
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      2 months ago

      Probably want to sit on stuff a bit after its stolen to make it less hot. Some stuff probably gets left in a corner or is harder to sell. Alternatively The intention is to steal a whole bunch then ship it overseas or across country and resell in a different region entirely.

    • Dagwood222@lemm.ee
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      2 months ago

      Probably the crooks just grabbed up everything they could. That means the stuff people have been keeping around that they never had time to repair.

  • catch22@programming.dev
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    2 months ago

    This has happened to myself as well as other friends in the trades where you are expected to buy and maintain your own tools. Not only do you to loose thousands of dollars in tools, it also effects ongoing and new work as well as a shit load of time spent rebuying and finding the right tools again. The police just don’t care, the last time it happened I didn’t even bother filing a report. I consider this one of the lowest forms of petty theft. It kills people’s lively hoods and takes food out of their family’s mouths.

    • Zoot@reddthat.com
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      2 months ago

      You should be able to get insurance on your tools. I know a few of my locksmith buddies have done this. Keep a well itemized list of your tools.

      It really sucks, and I for one don’t even do this. If it is a huge worry though, it should be something you can look into.

      • PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        If you’re a contractor, you should be carrying your own insurance anyways. Lots of beginners don’t bother setting up an LLC and insurance, because they don’t realize how bad it can be if they have an accident on the job. If you haven’t set up that LLC and have insurance at a bare minimum, then you’re in for a world of shit if someone gets hurt.

        Source: Was a freelancer for a decade. Half of the goobers I worked around were sole owner/operators of an LLC, and the others were completely open to personal liability if they dropped something on someone.

      • xthexder@l.sw0.com
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        2 months ago

        I’m not a professional, but all my powertools are covered under my renter’s/hone insurance. It’s incredibly cheap compared to car or health insurance.

        Edit: I guess this doesn’t count if the tools are stored in a vehicle parked anywhere but in my garage. There’s definitely some policies available that will cover the full contents of your vehicle though.

  • ansiz@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    What the hell were the thieves doing with the tools? They had 15,000 of them, were they going to open a Home Depot? Was this a crew of a few dozen people? How were they making money of they had 15,000 tools in like 12 storage units? Even if this was some shady eBay marketplace operation they must have been having serious trouble finding buyers for these tools or something.

    • Corkyskog@sh.itjust.works
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      2 months ago

      You don’t know how much they sold. This could be a fence operation that just grew large.

      Thiefs don’t find a buyer everytime they steal something, they go to their “fence” who resells it. Say something is worth $200 used, the fence will pay like half or a third of the value in cash right away, every time. The thief walks away with $80 they can go spend on drugs, and the fence eventually makes $120. Reselling takes time though, and your thiefs keep thieving. If you tell your thief “I can’t buy this today” they will find another fence and you might lose that thief forever. Maybe more thieves if they find out they are a better fence. So you just keep buying stuff, even if your not selling it nearly as fast.

  • xylogx@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    Did anyone read the phrase “fed up carpenter” and immediately think the was the second coming of Christ?

  • AutoTL;DR@lemmings.worldB
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    2 months ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    Determined to shut down thieves, he said, he bought a bunch of Apple AirTags and hid the locator devices in some of his larger tools that hadn’t been pilfered.

    On Jan. 22, after a third break-in and theft, the carpenter said, he drove around D.C.’s Maryland suburbs for hours, following an intermittent blip on his iPhone, until he arrived at a storage facility in Howard County.

    The storage unit, stuffed with purloined power tools, led detectives to similar caches in other places in the next four months — 12 locations in all, 11 of them in Howard County — and the recovery of about 15,000 saws, drills, sanders, grinders, generators, batteries, air compressors and other portable (meaning easily stealable) construction equipment worth an estimated $3 million to $5 million, authorities said.

    “The scope of the investigation is enormous and ongoing,” the chief said, adding, “We believe the tools were stolen from retail stores, businesses, vehicles, residential properties and construction sites.”

    Der said detectives have identified about 80 victims so far, “and we believe there are hundreds if not thousands more.” Police created an online form for people to fill out if they think their stolen tools might be somewhere in the piles.

    It asks for serial numbers, receipts, photos or any “identifying marks, initials, or numbers.” Authorities declined to discuss further details of the investigation


    The original article contains 648 words, the summary contains 225 words. Saved 65%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!