8:39 PM | Posted in
This is the first night that I don't have to blog about any theft stories! Granted we still have to pack up the garage, but i think it was too messy for him to want to bother going through, so i think we are safe for the most part. Today we did some more packing and yard work to get the house ready for when we leave. We had a lady come by today and look at the house, she said the same thing that we hear every time. Wow this is the nicest house I've seen, but its kinda small. More and more I think about converting our garage into a second living area and just putting a carport off the front of it. We probably wont do it, but it is way tempting.

One possibly exciting thing that happened today is that our Fuji apple tree grew 3 offshoots 2 of which we where able to dig out and trim off. We are going to see if we can't get them to live and take them to Mo with us. We have been semi-joking about taking the tree with us, but if these shoots live then it will be like taking the tree and we will start a little grove somewhere in mo. Becca really wants a little fruit tree groove with 2-3 of a couple trees like apple, pear, fig, peach, and money. I personally am hoping for that last tree so i can just stay home and tinker around on projects. Well thats all for tonight, we have to get up extra early tomorrow and run errands.
12:53 PM | Posted in
Here should be the last submission of our little theft experience. This morning we went over to the public library at 10:30 am as per their requested time (we originally requested 10am) and we found a table to sit at and got all the documents ready to sign. Then we waited.... and waited.... and waited..... and waited. At 10:45 we started to call Janet and leaving her voicemails asking where she was and what was going on. We never get any response and both Becca and I are upset because they are very late for something very important and now it seems that they are ignoring our phone calls and have decided to no longer cooperate.

After 20 min Becca says we need to leave because we have other things to do today and apparently they are not coming. I being an optimist say "Maybe over slept her alarm. She does work nights now and maybe she wanted to try and get in a quick nap before meeting us." Becca said "yeah maybe" and left her a text saying to call us. As we are running errands in the car Becca's phone rings and it is Janet on the line. I pick up and she tells me that she is so sorry, she over slept her alarm and did not mean to miss our appointment. She seemed to honestly be upset and sorry for missing the appointment so we rescheduled with her for later after we are done with our errands. (My question is why didn't Ben wake her up and say it is time to go?)

Around 2:30 we told them we were home from our errands and to come over to the house to sign the paper work, which consisted of a second "Damages Done" document and a corresponding Promissory note. This is the new Damages document is the same as the first except that the payment dates and amounts have been listed and it no longer says we can go after them for financial compensation, however it says nothing about going to the law. It also infers that this will be enacted once all the payments have been made (in 2 months).

"This document affirms that the second party acknowledges responsibility of the first party’s claim of “damages done” and seeks to make the first party financially whole again with the agreed upon sum of $400 to be paid by 2 cashiers checks or money orders the first being to the sum of $100 to be paid no later than September 30th 2010 and the second check being the sum of $300 to be paid no later than October 15th 2010 as noted in the accompanying promissory note.

In return for being made financially whole again the first party agrees to not seek any more financial compensation for additional “lost/stolen” items against the second party upon the completion of payment. "

The promissory note is a standard print and fill out the blanks legal document that says they are responsible for paying us a certain amount by a certain date in certain payment methods and that if they default we can legally pursue them and they agree to pay all legal fees if that happens. It also says that if they want to pay off earlier than scheduled that they can and not be penalized, which is important to note because some of the loan documents people fill out have clauses making you pay fees if you pay off early (so check all your loan docs before signing). We also are not charging them interest, but can call the whole amount due immediately if they miss their first payment grace period.

However while we do have some open options to seek legal action Becca and I have decided not to pursue them for any other "lost" items unless they are well above $500, promissory note aside. That is because we know there are no more money stashes around the house to be found missing and that we have a $500 deducible for our home insurance policy so any other loss would need to be above that amount for it to be eligible for compensation. Also I don't think we have anything else worth over a couple hundred dollars that is worth stealing that hasn't already been accounted for. So I would say that if there is still more missing by now we have recovered 80%-90% of it (minus the $400) and that is a pretty good outcome for any theft case.

Becca says: Some people have been asking how long Janet knew Ben before running off and marrying him. I just wanted to clarify that they have been dating for at least a year, and much longer I think, and had planned on getting married back in July. That wedding date got pushed back to Sept. The "sudden" wedding that Alann was referring to was the fact that the wedding date suddenly got pushed up to August. It was a complete surprise to all but immediate family (which we are not). So it wasn't like she met him and married him within a week. Just the actual wedding date was a surprise. Alann says: I don't know if that makes her marrying him better or worse.

We also have made our first replacement purchase and bought me a new leather coat similar to the one stolen and luckily at the same price as the first. I hope that it is the first step to the real end of the torment that has been our lives this past week and that we can finally move on. While the story may hopefully be over, I hope many of you will continue to check mine and Becca's blogs from time to time as we enter into a new phase of our lives where we are renting out the house in UT, living in Mo and I try to start up my own full time Real Estate investment and management business and Becca does the same with her part time sewing store while trying to raise 2 kids. I hope there is no part 7 to this story, but if there is I will say so on Facebook, otherwise see you back here later for more news from The Life and Times of Alann: A collection of my ramblings, stories, rants and excuses to help pass the time.

8:34 PM | Posted in

So yes, the last story had a twist in it that no one expected or wanted, more money was found missing and our interactions with Janet and Ben were/are not over. Here is the latest in our story now. Becca has wanted to start a small online sewing shop that caters to young mothers who need things like burp clothes, blankets, hats and things. She was able to procure an amount of money (I'm not really sure how much) to enable her to start making her designs, prototypes and marketing strategies for her business when we move. If I had the website address I would post it so everyone could help us in this endeavor but it isn't up yet so you will just have to watch for the address to appear in my sidebar of this blog so you can visit it.

Anyways, she had $400 placed in a nondescript envelop, which was then placed in a locked safe box, which was then hidden under the bed and the key was on a key chain on her dresser under some stuff. Someone had enough time to go through and find everything they needed allowing them to steal the money. WOW! is all I have to say to that. There is no way I could be that patient of a thief, but I guess if you know your victim isn't coming home for a week you don't worry too much about it.

So we sent a polite and to the point letter to Janet letting her know what had happened and that we wanted to be compensated again for it. Because remember in the agreement we are allowed to come after them again for additional items of loss/theft. She sends a text back saying “what do you want us to do, we had to borrow money from my parents to pay last time?”

Of course my thinking is “I want you to take out a loan and get me my money back is what I want you to do!” But Becca and I both know that since we have had to come to them a second time that compensation is going to be harder for us to demand because Janet and Ben have gotten over their initial shock and aren’t going to be as willing to cooperate as they have been, even though the evidence is on our side. They also are going to be upset, like we are, that this situation just won’t go away

So we need to treat this situation delicately and keep the lines of communication open as much as possible. Because after this, the last thing we can do is go to the police. After talking it over we decide to give her some options such as paying it all now by cash or credit or setting up some payment plans. Yes I said payment plans and I will go into why we offered that later. Then we submit the message off to her at 10 pm (Mon) saying we need to know by 5 pm tomorrow (Tue) what they will do and then we wait, .... and wait, .... and wait .... and wait.

4:45 pm (cutting it close I’d say) we get this message and I am quoting here

“If we do pay you this four hundred, I’m asking that you to add to the contract that you won’t charge us for anything else that may turn up missing.”

What do you mean “if” you pay us and what “logic” do you have that says you shouldn’t have to compensate us for things you “lost”, and “may” turn up missing, do you know something we don’t? Needless to say I am a bit put off by this response as it seems my fears have been confirmed and they are starting to get a bit cocky about having to give us money.

We send a message back that we need to know things before agreeing to anything, like cash or credit payment, full up front amount or multiple payments, when we can collect and if they will accept a deadline allowing us to continue to look for more items as we pack the house instead of ending it here and now. We also point out that we found 3 BB holes in our office in the top corners, 1 with a BB still in it, hoping to shake a little of the cockiness out of them. Then at 5:13 pm we get this message (quoting)

“We would need a payment plan, my next paycheck, that I would be able to pay you with, I get the week of Sept 27th. We admit to the property damage, and we are willing to come and help you fix it. We didn’t steal anything though.”

We now know that Janet has decided to stand with her husband and declare innocence, even though items were found in her car and the obvious time needed to steal these thing means it was someone staying in the house, and that she is a MORON. She then tells us that she will do 1 payment of $100 on Sept 27th and $300 on Oct 11th and that as far as the deadline is concerned, (quote) “I’m asking that this 400 be the last of it. We have willing worked with you on everything and have admitted to what we did do.”

Wow, so… suddenly we are burdening them with our problems and they have been gracious enough to humor us so far, but now they are tiring of it. I had no idea I was being such a jerk offering you the opportunity to do the right thing and replace items you are responsible for replacing and not involving you, your friend and your family in a police investigation.

At this point we stop talking to Janet and start thinking about what our real options are because after this they will no longer be willing to pay us financial compenstation. Do we go to the cops or do we agree to the terms. After talking about what is important to us and how we can best achieve the end we want, we decide to agree to their terms and draw up another contract and a payment promissory note.

This is as far as the story has gone for now, because tomorrow is when we will meet them again to sign the documents and finalize the transaction. Now I know some of you want to know why we agreed to payments, their terms and why we didn’t go to the police. I would love to tell you, but as they say, “the walls have ears” and until we receive all the money I am unwilling to go into detail on the matter, until after we have gotten the last check on Oct 14th-ish, shall we say for Janet’s sake.

5:10 PM | Posted in
So Becca opens the the door and lets them in and they walk in kinda apologetic like and get about 3 feet into the doorway where they stop and I am standing in the middle of our family room with my arms crossed, like I have a habit of doing, now I pictured myself looking very stern but reasonable. My wife says i looked more like combination of these 3 pictures, so just keep that in mind while you follow along with the conversation


Me:"Well?" (Once again paraphrasing)
Janet: We found Traxx in the back of our car. We don't know how it got there....
Me: And everything else?
Janet: We don't know where anything else is.... We... think it was... our friend who took the stuff..
Ben: We have $600 in cash we can give you right now.
Me: "I don't care who took it. The fact is that regardless if you took it (Ben) or she took it (Janet) you two are now married and are both responsible for the acts of the other and for the actions of anyone you let into our house while you were watching it. And because you found Traxx in your trunk it just proves that you had a part in this and are guilty by association if we have to go to the police. Offering us $600 is offensive to us and to what has happened.
I don't care what you have to do, if you have to take out all your money and give it to us, or go to your parents and ask for the money you will repay every penny you stole."

Now during my talk with them they tried to interrupt me twice (once each) and I had to wave them off with my finger, a glare and a growlish mmmpht noise to let them know that what they had to say to me was insignificant to what I had to say to them until I was done talking. Finally I asked them to leave my house and wait outside while I and my wife talked over what needed to be done to rectify the problem.
They then very meekly walked out the front door and waited on the front porch while me and Becca went into the back room and talked about what had been stolen and how much it was really worth so that we could replace what was gone but not take advantage of them at the same time. We talk about it for 5 min and agree that $1000 really is the amount of money that would be needed to cover the loss of everything. We also want to make sure they know that if they can bring back any of the missing items we will reduce the $1000 by the retail value of that item.
After deciding how much to tell them we go over to the front door and I half step out while Becca kinda hangs out in the door frame and the 2 of them look over at me anxiously to see what we have decided to do.
Me: We talked it over and $1000 really is the amount of money that was stolen and accepting less than that really is an insult.
Ben: I totally understand and if I was you I would feel the same way which is why I went straight to my bank account and took out all $600 to give you (gee, what a coincidence your bank account has just about the same amount of cash that was stolen, what are the odds?) and I promise that I will come over and help repair all the damage around the house. (Let me tell you he isn't coming within a block of my house if I can help it after this)
Janet: I get my paycheck today and it is $400, but I won't get it until 2
They also mention at some point in the conversation that they have not been able to get a hold of their "friend" yet.
So now it is time for the final word on this situation and what is going to happen to make things right. I look them dead in the eyes and say "Fine, you have till 5 pm to get your paycheck and bring all the money back to us and in the mean time try to talk to your "friend" to see if any more items can be return, because we would rather have our things than the money. But after 5pm we are calling the police and we have Traxx back and we know where it was so if we have to go to the police things most likely will not work out so well for you."
After that they say "Yes sir" shake my hand and leave with Becca once again giving Janet a hug and saying some words of sympathy to her. Soon after we leave the house to go and buy some new door locks because who knows if copies were made for later use to steal more. Then later we get a couple of texts asking if they can pay with a money order and if they can get some documentation to go along with the transaction.
We agree to both things and I write up a document for us all to sign that says (and this is the document minus names in the first paragraph, signature spaces and the list of items under "damages done").

This document affirms that the second party acknowledges responsibility to the first party’s claim of “damages done” and seeks to make the first party financially whole again with the agreed upon sum of $1000 to be paid by cashiers check number . In return for being made financially whole again the first party agrees to not seek legal recourse against the second party for the agreed upon “damages done”. Separate action may be taken for supplementary “loss” and/or “harm” found after the signing of this document and not listed below in the “damages done” footnote.

The First party and the Second party willfully and knowingly agree to the terms found within this document and do so by signing their names in the provided spaces below.

So they can feel good that we won't pursue them anymore for the found "missing" items, but we can still go after them for any other "missing" items we may find later after the paper is signed, so we feel better about the document. Around 4:45pm they show up with Janet's dad, for moral support I guess, and with the full amount of money in a check. They fill out the check paperwork and we all sign the documents and they leave the house hopefully for the last time EVER!
Here are some of our after thoughts on the whole thing:
  1. The worst part is never knowing if you are going to open a closet or cabinet and find something missing
  2. We think that it was only because of Janet that we got anything back and that it was Ben who took everything
  3. Always lock up anything expensive when leaving town, regardless of who is watching your place, because you never know

Oh no, Becca just found more (a lot) money missing. Looks like we are not done with this yet, I guess stay tuned.

4:04 PM | Posted in
Before I go into detail on confronting Janet and Ben let me go into our basic approach tactic with Janet and for those of you who haven't seen me in a while or my wife our basic character and physical descriptions. This should help you understand some of the reasons we did what we did.

Because Becca is friends with Janet she is going to talk to her first and try to do things as friendly as possible (good cop) and as long as Janet cooperates I will just stay in the kitchen with Alex while Claire sleeps. Becca wants to try and make this conversation as pleasant and friendly as possible and wants to see if maybe her handling it will be enough to get things accomplished. If however things don't go as we want them I will take over and tell Janet how it is (bad cop). After all I have been up all night doing research on UT criminal law and am quite ready to tell them the title #- chapter # - section # of each law that pertains to this issue and what it means for us and to them.

So this is Becca my wife; sweet, caring, trusting and completely unintimidating, she is completely gorgeous and unassuming in every way. She will be the one to talk with Janet first.

This is me, 6'3" 265lbs, broad shouldered, goatee and constantly scruffy looking and according to my wife the "security bouncer" looking type. For those of you who remember me from high school my attitude is pretty much the same, happy, laid back, fun loving, just a great guy to know and hang out with. Same me just bigger and older with a little less hair on top.

So that is us and our basic 1st round tactic with Janet to get her to see some reason and get our stuff back. Around 7:45 we get a text from Janet saying she is going to be late because her car has broken down, but that she will try to be there as soon as she can. So I'm starting to worry that maybe she does have an idea of what is going on and she is going to bail on us and then it is straight to the police (which I was more than willing to do). However around 8:30 am she shows up and I take Alex into the kitchen with me while Becca sits down with Janet on the couch next to where I am.

Because I am trying to stay out of it for the first round I kinda stayed in the kitchen and couldn't hear much of the conversation, but I heard that the tone was really soft and meek with a bunch of this is missing and we didn't do it and I promise it wasn't us. The only thing she admitted to was the BB gun holes, saying that it was Ben and they would pay us for that damage. So finally after 4-5 minutes Becca says "Well I guess we have to call the police, can you give me your address please?" and Janet says sure and starts to text her husband for the address because she just moved there (his parents house) and doesn't know it yet.

Now this does not satisfy me at all. There as been a crime in our home by a welcomed person and 1 of the guilty party is sitting on our couch. There is no way I am letting them out of the house with just a small "where is our stuff" talk. So I step out of the kitchen after getting Becca some paper and a pen and say (paraphrasing) "Here is the problem, how long has Ben had that BB gun?"

Janet: He told me a couple months

Me: Well, he lied to you. We have the box for it in our closet where we put it after we found it in our recycling bin. He probably bought it with the money he stole from us out of these envelopes now on the counter which were hidden in a black notebook, which he had to go through one by one. Also the Guitar hero that was stolen was also scattered around the house in different rooms. Someone had to have the time to look around the house and to find all the parts. This wasn't a simple break in and take what you can see thing, this person had plenty of time to find the things they wanted and to take them.

We have talked to the neighbors and know that only you and Ben have been at the house and that Ben has used the truck a couple times and that the small amount of emergency gas money from the truck ash tray is missing. Since only the 2 of you had keys to the truck that means it was one of you who took it. (Some where in here she mentioned they had a friend over, but that they were with them the whole time, so they too couldn't have taken anything.)

I then tell her that even if it was the friend who took things, very doubtful considering the time needed and the fact that only a blind man would miss someone carrying drums out the door, she is still responsible for the theft because she was the one being paid to watch the house to make sure this thing didn't happen and she is an accessory to the crime if she knows about it. I then proceed to tell her that this is a 3rd degree felony punishable by 5yrs in prison and/or $5000 in fines if found guilty.

I then ask her if she ever let Ben stay in the house by himself for a long time and she says yes. So by now I can see fear and doubt creeping into her expression and I know that she is starting to take things seriously and wonder what her husband has been up to. So after what I considered logically and calmly talking to her about "how things are" we once again tell her she has till noon to see if maybe Ben borrowed something and forgot to tell us or if they can get a hold of their friend and see what can be done there, because if things are returned we are willing to forgive and forget and move on with life.

I then went back into the kitchen and got a drink and Becca has me name off again what was stolen so Janet could go look for it. So I say we know Guitar hero was taken, the cash, my jacket and we think a knife, which i described in detail to her, and a remote control car. Becca then showed her to the door with some words of condolence and we waited to see what would happen next.

About an hour later we get a text from Janet asking what the remote controlled car looks like. We describe the picture to the left and hope that maybe something has been found. After about 15 minutes the dogs start to bark and I look out the window and see a car in front of our house. So I put the dogs in the backyard so we can talk and then peek out the window and see Janet AND Ben walking up our drive while Janet is carry...........Traxx (no longer in its original box I might add). So now we know and Janet knows that either Ben or the friend have done this crime and they are BUSTED!

But where is everything else? Where is my birthday leather jacket? Did they bring back all the money they stole? Will Ben leave this house in one piece once i get my hands on him? Do we need to call the police still? You will have to find out later, because this post is already way long and it is bedtime. Check tomorrow for the conclusion.