Lost and Found

Lost and Found

After a bit over a year of searching CraigsList, local papers, and noticing every boat and every car with boats on top, one of the nicest things to hear from a Deputy is “we have recovered your boats”.

I can’t say that I ever gave up on getting them back since they were one offs and totally unique, but after a year I had definitely moved on. Occasionally, the well meaning person would ask me if we had ever gotten them back or I would see one that looked a little like them and it would rip open the scab that was for the most part healed, but to get them back…that is incredible after so long.

Start to finish it took a week and a day to get them back which I felt was incredibly quick, given what else was likely going on during that time for the Sheriffs Department. We got texted while we were traveling that a friend had seen the boats in someone’s yard—about ten miles from our home. When we got home I immediately called the Sheriff, thinking it would be an easy process to get them back but it turns out nothing is easy with recovering stolen property.

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Luckily, I had quite a bit of documentation, which is the first lesson learned in getting anything back—keep records. After the initial call the Deputy visited the house and made a positive ID of the boats and verified that they were still there. Since they were behind a chainlink fence guarded by a pitiful and a lock, a search warrant had to be obtained. I had to send the Deputy serial numbers, the packing list, pictures of the boats, and most importantly, pictures of us IN the boats to show that we actually owned them. So, lesson number two is to have some proof positive that you actually own the boats and had possession of them before they were reported stolen.

Just before we loaded up the car to go boating today we got a call from the Deputy and he said that we could come retrieve the boats! I was a bit leery of driving up to the house but was assured that we would be out of the thief’s sight when we picked them up. There were several cars and Deputies working this when we arrived so I assume that more than just stolen boats were discovered.

I asked what would happen to the person and was told that it was unlikely that anything would come out of the stolen boat part of the equation since it was over a year and the individual stated that he had “purchased them from X” so there was really no proof that he was the one who had actually taken the boats. I found this a bit odd since the guy was obviously in possession of stolen property (it was grand theft) with no receipt, documentation, etc. but was heartened to hear that the guy would “likely go to jail on other grounds”.

We have decided to pay it forward. Both boats, which are in new condition are now for sale. All money will go directly to the Sheriff Explorer Program which “helps youths pursue and further their interest in Law Enforcement.” We chose this program since it has potential to have a direct and positive impact in the community. Plus we like nice kids!

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Heartfelt thanks go out to Deputy Isham of the El Dorado Sheriff Department (Placerville, Calif). His professionalism and dedication to what in reality is a small issue in the scheme of things definitely reinforces my respect for Law Enforcement. And, thanks to all of you who kept looking out for these boats and kept the faith! This once again proves how interconnected and small our world-wide boating community really is.
Happy Paddling,
Hilde

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