Kayakgate: The Next Chapter

Some of you have followed the news that our kayak was stolen from our home several weeks ago. Subsequently, my Twitter followers helped locate it at the local Play it Again Sports. We verified ownership by producing a receipt for the kayak, photos of us with the kayak, and clearly showing after-market modifications for which we also have receipts. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the kayak is ours.

Sadly, that’s not enough.

The police officer working on the case has taken all the right steps. Unfortunately, the person who was compensated for the stolen kayak at the used sporting goods store is not the person who brought it there (this, according to the store, and the person whose contact information was logged by the store when the kayak was brought to them.) Interestingly, the store recently remembered that the person who brought in the kayak “forgot” their ID and his friend produced his ID in his place. Since that person will NOT reveal who brought in the kayak, we’re upriver with no paddle.

The police don’t have anyone to charge.

Play it Again is upset because they’re out the money they bought the used kayak for (several hundred dollars) and are not yet allowed to resell it.

I’m sick over it because there my boat sits, three miles from my house, under “arrest” from the county police and no criminal to charge in the case.

I wish there were a way for this to work out. I wish the people involved would be moved to do the right thing, here. I wish the guy who presented his ID at the store would realize that his “friend” is a lying jerk thief and turn him in. I wish the guy (with the ID)’s parents would read him the riot act and make him ‘fess up.

I wish a lot of things. But mostly I just want my kayak back.

If anyone has ideas about how this might get resolved, or has any information in the case (or a burning desire to buy a used kayak) let me know.

About marijean

I'm a public relations professional, social media consultant and work-at-home-mom living and working in Charlottesville, Va. I'm Marijean Jaggers and this is my blog.
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24 Responses to Kayakgate: The Next Chapter

  1. This is crazy! Free the kayak!

  2. Emarieg says:

    OH NO! How awful.

    Play it Again should be held responsible for accepting something without the person’s ID. Clearly this is their mistake. I think I’d be tempted to take them to small claims court. Have you asked an attorney?

  3. If the kayak were shown to have been stolen, and you have a person who was present at the transaction of the stolen goods, then you would think that there would be something like “accomplice in the sale of stolen goods” charge or similar that could be leveled at the friend. I suppose proof is tricky, and maybe he has a good enough lawyer to make him not concerned should any charges to go court. Harumph.

  4. Mr. “I Used to Watch L.A. Law” who lives with me says that the accomplice is an accessory to possession of stolen goods (or something like that) and that the police should be able to charge him. Have the police talked to the accomplice … you know, talked seriously with him and talked about his culpability?

  5. Ry says:

    What a bummer. The optimist in me wants to believe that this at least scared a little sense into both the thief and the accomplice, and they’ll learn from the error of their ways.

    I hope your kayak gets out of the pokey soon!

  6. “accessory after the fact”. lean on the DA. if you know who the person is who presented ID, then splash that person’s name EVERYWHERE, preferably with a face associated. it’s not slander or libel if it is true

  7. http://www.lectlaw.com/def/a007.htm
    ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT
    Whoever, knowing that an offense has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact; one who knowing a felony to have been committed by another, receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the felon in order to hinder the felon’s apprehension, trial, or punishment. U.S.C. 18

  8. Kirsten says:

    Get a lawyer.

  9. Eliz C says:

    That is so awful. Now the poor kayak is being held hostage wondering if it will ever make it home. Seems like you are stuck in the system. BTW good detective work by your Twitter followers. Social media to the rescue!

  10. Randee says:

    I guess I don’t understand why you can’t have the kayak back, since you have proven it is yours. Regardless of whether they can charge him or not, the kayak is clearly yours…why hasn’t it been returned to you? Also, the employee who allowed the man to turn it in without producing an ID should have to reimburse Play It Again Sports…the whole thought process behind producing an ID is to prevent this very situation from occurring, am I right? Also, didn’t you say it would take more than one person to remove the kayak from your yard. How is this supposed “innocent” friend getting away with, “I’m an innocent bystander.” It all sounds like a lot of inefficient BS on the part of the store and the police.

  11. CJ says:

    Unbelievable. Go after the store. They know they did not follow the correct process.

  12. Randee says:

    I’ve been thinking about this…could you file a claim with homeowners and let them go after it? They might have some luck with their resources.

  13. Elle says:

    Holy crap, since when did there have to be a person to charge before you could get redress for a proven crime???? This sounds like a bunch of B.S. to my unlawyerly mind.

    Too bad on Play It Again – they didn’t follow proper procedure in buying the kayak, so I don’t feel one bit sorry for them that they’re out the money they paid for it.

    Do you have a local TV station that does expose stories? They might really like this one.

  14. Stef says:

    Crazy. I wouldn’t sue the second hand shop. Their $300 loss seems punishment enough. But, it seems so silly that you can’t get your kayak back. Good luck! Hope they catch the guy.

  15. Okay, I’m back and thinking about this.

    I don’t understand why hearsay (Play It Again saying the person they gave the money to wasn’t Mr. ID) trumps the documentation (Mr. ID being attached to the transaction). I don’t understand why Mr. ID isn’t held accountable and charged. If you won’t give up your friend, then you take the fall. Done. Kayak back to MJ.

  16. Something similar happened to me about ten years ago. A drunk driver hit me on the bypass, totaling my car. Then he took off. Police found the car on High, crashed into a storefront. The four drunken occupants of the car had all exited it. Each one informed police that they had not been driving and that they would not say who had been. Thus, nobody could be charged. The vehicle’s owner said he’d loaned it to a friend, and wasn’t driving it. Ultimately, the probable driver paid a $70 fine and that was that.

  17. John Heaney says:

    I think it’s time to leverage the power of social media to gain corporate attention to the franchisee’s bad behavior. Hit Play It Again’s Facebook fan page with your story, distribute the post to your network and encourage comments. Create a cause celebre that demands a response and compels them to remedy their action and return your kayak. Local media would also likely be interested in the story and the compelling backstory of Play It Again accepting stolen goods for resale. Free the Kayak! (that tagline is just screaming for a logo)

  18. Suzanne says:

    *Shame* on the parents of these kids. Don’t they realize they are teaching their children the wrong thing? I vote for the Free The Kayak! campaign.

  19. I’m with John. We’ll help. #freethekayak

  20. Diane says:

    I would go to the parents of the accomplice. Hopefully they are reasonable people and will help Junior remember the thief.

  21. Pingback: Think Twice About Play It Again Sports - Aaron’s Blog

  22. Alice R says:

    I’m thinking about this quite a lot, since posting it to my FB page a little while ago. Here’s where I am with it:

    ~ A brief search of several states indicates that “buying stolen goods,” and “receipt of stolen goods” laws depend upon the buyer/recipient knowing or having a sense that the item is stolen. Convenient for them! However, by not requiring people who bring items in for sale to prove that they have the right to sell them (i.e., that they “own” them), could it be argued that PIAS makes itself vulnerable to buying/receiving stolen goods? Since requiring people to prove ownership would indemnify them absolutely, isn’t not doing so tantamount to saying you don’t care/can’t be bothered to check? It may be a little bit indirect, but it seems to me that it would not be difficult to establish that there are second-hand businesses who take a more ethical stance and, thus, protect themselves, and that PIAS made a voluntary choice not to do so–hence their losses are solely their own worry.

    ~ I agree with the person who pointed out that (since they requested no proof of ownership) PIAS cannot say that the person whose ID information they collected did not steal it; therefore, it seems to me that regardless of his denial, he is on the hook. The evidence is that he was part of the sales transaction. This means that he was well-enough affiliated with the mystery man to enter into a contractual agreement as his proxy, with all of the responsibilities that entails.

    ~ It would be good to find out whether taking proxy ID and paying out money for items is part of the normal landscape of how that PIAS outlet conducts business, and whether or not that is in keeping with the corporate policy. If it’s not, it’s another check in your favor. If they were outside of the normal processes, then they have a thinner case.

    ~ Similarly, it would be good to find out what the training materials for employees say about this. If the individual employee was operating outside of the normal scope and practice of his employment (meaning not following the rules), then he can be sued as an individual, as well. I know you aren’t eager to file suit, but you also don’t know that he wasn’t in collusion with the fellows who brought the thing in. Plus, if he broke the rules, it is his fault, and sparing him natural consequences doesn’t help him any.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I just sent an email to their corporate office asking a bunch of questions about their policies. I didn’t mention your story; I simply said that I am aware of someone who had an unfortunate and costly experience regarding stolen goods, and that I am hoping to avoid a similar fate. If you’d like the full text, send me an email and I’ll forward it to you, as well as any response I get.

    Peace,

    Alice

  23. Yes, I’m with Brian and Mike – why CAN’T the police charge the one who showed the ID, for failing to cooperate with the police? He/she’s an accessory!

  24. Mary says:

    I suggest everyone email play it again sports’ corporate office as a starter:
    from their webpage (
    Contact Us

    Our corporate headquarters is in Minneapolis, MN. To contact us with questions or comments about Play It Again Sports please email us at:
    pias-corporate-operations@playitagainsports.com.