Vic­tims of crime urged to re­claim stolen goods

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JOHN RYAN

SEARCH war­rants and raids on lo­cal crim­i­nals who’ve stock­piled huge quan­ti­ties of stolen goods have out­stripped the abil­ity of po­lice to find the right­ful own­ers.

In­spec­tor Dan Skelly said the ex­hibit room at Dubbo’s po­lice sta­tion is over­flow­ing with all sorts of prop­erty they’d love to give back to own­ers.

“We’ve got a large amount of tools – very ex­pen­sive tools or tools some­body is miss­ing,” In­spec­tor Skelly told Dubbo Photo News.

“(The right­ful own­ers) just need to at­tend the po­lice sta­tion, pro­vide some sort of proof of who they are and give us the cir­cum­stances un­der which they lost their tools, and we may be able to re­unite them with their prop­erty – that’s what our ob­jec­tive is,” he said.

“We’ve re­cov­ered a hell of a lot of prop­erty we sus­pect has been stolen. There’s a large amount of jew­ellery there.

“The jew­ellery is pre­cious to peo­ple, so we en­cour­age them to come and see us.

Whilst it’s pos­si­ble lo­cal po­lice may not have prop­erty be­long­ing to you, whilst ever there’s a chance they do, then Insp Skelly said it’s worth check­ing in. “You’ll never know un­less you come down and ask us.”

He says po­lice don’t like to see un­claimed stolen goods sim­ply auc­tioned off to the high­est bid­der, es­pe­cially when the items could hold sig­nif­i­cant sen­ti­men­tal value for the own­ers.

“It hits home more when you look at the jew­ellery be­cause jew­ellery is such a per­sonal item. Some of it could be fam­ily heir­looms.”

Insp Skelly de­scribed it as “frus­trat­ing” when po­lice have to send un­claimed items to auc­tion. “We re­alise that there’s some­one out there that this jew­ellery be­longs to, but we just can’t find them or they haven’t come for­ward.”

Once items are resold to some­body else, po­lice won’t have any hope of re­unit­ing them with their right­ful owner.

Money from the auc­tioned items doesn’t come di­rectly back to the Dubbo com­mu­nity, it ends up in the state govern­ment’s con­sol­i­dated gen­eral rev­enue, mean­ing once it’s left the city, no-one here ben­e­fits from the sale.

In­spec­tor Skelly says a ma­jor frus­tra­tion is that many peo­ple still don’t bother re­port­ing crimes in the first place be­cause some vic­tims be­lieve po­lice can’t do any­thing to help, or they don’t want to waste of­fi­cers’ time – that makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble for po­lice to match stolen goods with vic­tims.

“If peo­ple have been a vic­tim of crime, please re­port it, be­cause some­times peo­ple think ‘oh I’ve only lost an an­gle grinder or a cou­ple of drills so there’s prob­a­bly noth­ing the po­lice can do so I won’t bother re­port­ing it’,” In­spec­tor Skelly said.

“If we end up with it here but we don’t have any­thing to tie the items back to the orig­i­nal owner, we then search our records. If we know that some­one had their garage bro­ken into and a large amount of tools had been taken, then we could pos­si­bly make the con­nec­tion.

“So we en­cour­age peo­ple not to be blasé – if they are a vic­tim of crime, re­port it, be­cause we may have their prop­erty, we may be able to solve their dilemma.

“It’s very sat­is­fy­ing to ex­e­cute a search war­rant at a crim­i­nal’s house and find equip­ment that we can trace back to some­one – it’s very ful­fill­ing.

“We’ve solved the crime, and we’ve ful­filled our char­ter to the com­mu­nity,” he said.

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

In­spec­tor Dan Skelly with some of the stolen goods cur­rently be­ing held at Dubbo Po­lice Sta­tion, wait­ing for their right­ful own­ers to come for­ward.

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