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  1. #1
    hurlco's Avatar
    hurlco is offline Senior Member
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    Default Stolen property sold at auction?

    I saw one of my regular buyers today and they related an interesting story. My buyer purchased a space at a self storage auction. Inside the space was an oxygen cylinder used in welding. My buyer attempted to contact the welding gas company and asked if they were interested in purchasing their oxygen cylinder. They told my buyer that the cylinder belonged to them and that it was stolen several year prior by a party that had rented the cylinder and never returned it. The welding gas company is now demanding that the auction buyer immediately return the gas cylinder or they will contact the police and have the buyer charged with receiving or possession of stolen property.

    Is the auction buyer a purchaser in good faith in Caifornia? Must he return the stolen oxygen cylinder? Can he be charged with possession of stolen property? Does the oxygen cylinder belong too him? Whadda think????
    "Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from being offended. The Constitution does not protect your feelings..."

  2. #2
    loftisstorage's Avatar
    loftisstorage is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    [QUOTE=hurlco;43873]I saw one of my regular buyers today and they related an interesting story. My buyer purchased a space at a self storage auction. Inside the space was an oxygen cylinder used in welding. My buyer attempted to contact the welding gas company and asked if they were interested in purchasing their oxygen cylinder. They told my buyer that the cylinder belonged to them and that it was stolen several year prior by a party that had rented the cylinder and never returned it. The welding gas company is now demanding that the auction buyer immediately return the gas cylinder or they will contact the police and have the buyer charged with receiving or possession of stolen property.

    The gas company is barking up a tree. As long as he has the receipt or proof of buying the cylinder.They can't get him for that. but the buyer, how knowing this, should call the police and run a check for it beening stolen. If they give the all clear, then keep the cylinder. If not, give to the police to return item. That why he is clear of problems.
    Jeff Loftis
    Greenville, SC

  3. #3
    MamaDuke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    If I were the buyer, I would give it back to them and get on with my life. It just isn't worth the hassle in my opinion.

    However, if he wants to pursue keeping the cylinder, he should contact the police and tell them the whole story. They can tell him where he stands legally.

    I guess it's the same as buying stolen property from a pawn shop or something similar. I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted for having done that...have you?

    It is certainly an interesting situation. I hope he keeps you informed of the outcome.
    MamaDuke

    The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    The tank probably does belong to the gas company.

    I used acetylene/oxygen tanks when I ran my automotive shop (long ago) and you actually purchased the contents of the tank but the tank itself (that's why they put their contact info/name on the tanks) belonged to the gas company. They would just switch out the tanks when I got low on fuel but I was fully aware the tank wasn't mine. I'm sure the tenant was aware too. It's bad that person bought the unit @ auction did not know this up front. HE SHOULD RETURN IT IMO.
    [

  5. #5
    palmettostorageFC is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    I (happily) don't have any experience input for this exact issue but it did remind me of a decades old Florida case involving a car's purchase. A fellow bought a car from a private seller. Man claimed it was his deceased dad's and part of the estate settlement. The buyer was a very young and inexperienced fellow, who plunked down in CASH everything he'd saved up to get his 1st very own car. He got a signed receipt & title for transfer, the whole thing seems quite legit. That is until he tried to register it when it was then discovered the veh was stolen and that his "title" was forged. The car was confiscated, pending outcome but the case was even complicated further because the insurance company had paid the original owner/victim for the car. It now, (technically, I suppose) belonged to the insurance company...or did it? Seems the victim didn't pay off the car's loan, so the lender was looking to do a repo or wanted the insurance $. A mess to say the least. The new buyer wasn't charged w/ any crime as he was able to prove to all concerned he, too, was a victim. Still, the car was given to either the bank or the insurer (can't recall which) and he was out the $ and his car. Perhaps, here a similar result? If the new buyer learns for sure it was stolen, I'm w/ the others - is it really worth the grief to to fight for the few $'s it would bring?

    On another aspect of "stolen goods" - It did cross my mind about stolen goods potentially being sold at auction. So - I add a question and explain why it came up for me.

    The what-if-stolen question arose when I caught about 10 mins of one of those auction shows & the buyer was gleefully showing off his good fortune in what he 1st thought to be a thumbs-down unit. In the front of the unit was the typical-expect-to-see clothing and misc items that appeared to be well used. Buried behind all that was box after box after box of brand new electronics - the majority of which were still factory sealed. May hubby (Mr. Not In Storage Biz) said - "Bet that stuff's stolen." and he asked me what I would do if I saw a unit like this before it got sold. My considerations were mixed. So, my added question is - What would or should a manager do if they found a unit that had an unusual number of unopened electronics hidden way in the back?

  6. #6
    Madman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    Quote Originally Posted by hurlco View Post
    I saw one of my regular buyers today and they related an interesting story. My buyer purchased a space at a self storage auction. Inside the space was an oxygen cylinder used in welding. My buyer attempted to contact the welding gas company and asked if they were interested in purchasing their oxygen cylinder. They told my buyer that the cylinder belonged to them and that it was stolen several year prior by a party that had rented the cylinder and never returned it. The welding gas company is now demanding that the auction buyer immediately return the gas cylinder or they will contact the police and have the buyer charged with receiving or possession of stolen property.

    Is the auction buyer a purchaser in good faith in Caifornia? Must he return the stolen oxygen cylinder? Can he be charged with possession of stolen property? Does the oxygen cylinder belong too him? Whadda think????
    Long ago we had something similar happen and we legally had to turn the car over to the police. We lost out on the rent and potential recovery through auction. The tenant was never to be found or seen again, too.

  7. #7
    Billings Storage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    I weld a lot and many of the cylinders are leased, but I also own many welding gas cylinders, so the police would be the correct way to go.

  8. #8
    hurlco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stolen property sold at auction?

    Ok, here is what I found out. The cylinder belongs to the gas company, period. The cylinder was reported stolen. The auction buyer contacted the gas company and informed them of his possession of the cylinder. The statute of limitations started upon their discovery of who was now in possession of the cylinder. The auction buyer must now return the cylinder to the original owner (title holder) or he/she, in this case a he, could be charged with possession of stolen property. The auction buyer could seek relief from the self storage facility for the value of the stolen property if, the self storage facility expressly stated that title was being conveyed or by their actions implied that title was being conveyed. Since most self storage auctions expressly state that the property is being sold without any warranty, the assumption is that true title to the purchased goods are only as good as the title held by the tenant. If the tenant never had true title to the goods (stolen) then title never improves and therefore, an auction buyer can find themselves returning items purchased at a self storage auction.
    "Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from being offended. The Constitution does not protect your feelings..."

 

 

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