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Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

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Latest post Thu, Aug 25 2016 12:24 PM by jeafra10. 20 replies.
  • Thu, Apr 21 2016 7:07 PM

    • jeafra10
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 16 2010
    • CA
    • Posts 63

    Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    I am writing for a friend of mine.  She is one of 18 people in the apartment unit that had been robbed from the Maintenance Man.  He had three prior felon's but the landlord/owner still hired him.  He was caught with some of the jewelry in his home and has already been  sentenced to 12 years in prison.

    The Owner of the apartment unit asked everyone to fill out what was taken, police report and etc, he has settled with a few people but not her.  She has sent him same letter three different ways and he will not accept it.  The jewelry was worth a lot more than $ 7500 but seems her only choice would be take him to Small Claims Court.  Is there anything special that she should bring with her, she has the police report, a picture of the jewelry and of course the newspaper article that he was arrested for this robbery.  . Seems this owner only wants to settle with the people that didn't loose to much and he told someone he doesn't want to claim it on his insurance.  When the first robbery occured they told no one at the apartment units, to bad they could have alerted everyone. 

  • Thu, Apr 21 2016 7:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    If her apartment was one of the ones specifically included in the prosecution, why isn't she talking to the probation department?  They can get restitution ordered through the court from the actual thief and it will be taken out of his prison accounts while he's incarcerated. 

  • Thu, Apr 21 2016 8:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    jeafra10:
    The jewelry was worth a lot more than $ 7500 but seems her only choice would be take him to Small Claims Court.

    According to this website, the small claims limit in CA is $10,000.

    jeafra10:
    Is there anything special that she should bring with her, she has the police report, a picture of the jewelry and of course the newspaper article that he was arrested for this robbery.

    She should bring some kind of proof of her stolen jewelry's value.  Did she save any of the receipts from when she bought the items?  Had she had any of it appraised (before it was stolen), and does she still have a copy of the appraisal report(s)?

    jeafra10:
    Seems this owner only wants to settle with the people that didn't loose to much and he told someone he doesn't want to claim it on his insurance.

    This lawyer's response to someone else's similar question includes some helpful ideas, I think, including that she should claim against her renter's insurance, if she has renter's insurance.  Anyway, good luck!

     

  • Thu, Apr 21 2016 10:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    karen2222:
    She should bring some kind of proof of her stolen jewelry's value.  Did she save any of the receipts from when she bought the items?  Had she had any of it appraised (before it was stolen), and does she still have a copy of the appraisal report(s)?

    She's also going to need proof that the landlord was aware of the risk.  That the guy was possibly a convicted felon doesn't mean much unless the convictions were offenses where theft should have been a consideration or anticipated.   Offers by the landlord to reimburse are not admissible nor an admission that he knew anything.  If the maintenance man was entering apartments he wasn't supposed to vs. apartments he was told to do work in, that could also be a big problem.  Again, the victim can contact probation and even the DA's office to get a restitution order against the thief.

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 5:52 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,431

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    To me, having paid off other claims sure seems to tilt the equation in form of constructive admission by LL as to misdeeds of his employee.....it may not be easy but Id  to get a good paper record of names and amounts paid to others  and you may need some of same to show up and testify that they got paid .   Apparently this LL won't budge until his feet get hot ...sort out how to heat his feet...may take a small claims action ....his not wanting to file a claim with his insurance carrier is just too bad . 



  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 6:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    Drew:
    in form of constructive admission by LL as to misdeeds of his employee

    There's no such thing.  Offers to settle or compromise are not admissible in court.  Offers made to others even less so. Don't start spouting theories that don't exist.  The tenant has an easy avenue to get reimbursement through the criminal courts.

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 7:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    If you read the Avvo reply I linked to, you might have gotten the impression that your friend could sue the landlord and win, simply on the basis of "respondeat superior."

    But if you research that doctrine you will find that it only applies to the employee's actions that fall within the course and scope of his work duties.  For example, a delivery truck driver who hits your parked car or your mailbox.

    So JamyeP is right, your friend would need to show the judge that the landlord should have known his employee was likely to steal from tenants and didn't take reasonable steps to protect the tenants (such as informing them about the first round of thefts).

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 7:51 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    JamyeP:

    If her apartment was one of the ones specifically included in the prosecution, why isn't she talking to the probation department?  They can get restitution ordered through the court from the actual thief and it will be taken out of his prison accounts while he's incarcerated. 

    Realistically speaking, if there were 18 victims and this victim's loss was "a lot more" than $7500, how long will it take this prisoner to earn enough to make her whole?

     

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 8:20 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    The restitution order becomes a civil judgment.  They collect from their prison fund and if anybody puts money on his books, they'll take it out of that money too.  The restitution order doesn't expire and she can pursue collections herself after the perp is released if she's still owed money while a small claims judgment against the landlord is 1) not a slam-dunk win 2) does expire and 3) collection is solely her problem. 

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 8:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    jeafra10:
    I am writing for a friend of mine.  She is one of 18 people in the apartment unit that had been robbed from the Maintenance Man.

    18 people in a single unit?!

     

    jeafra10:
    He had three prior felon's but the landlord/owner still hired him.

    What were the prior convictions for?  Does your friend have any evidence that the landlord was aware of the guy's criminal history when he hired him?

     

    jeafra10:
    The jewelry was worth a lot more than $ 7500 but seems her only choice would be take him to Small Claims Court.

    Well...no.  There are courts other than small claims court.  Also, the limit in small claims court is $10,000, not $7,500, unless your friend has filed more than a couple small claims actions in excess of $7,500 in the last year.

     

    jeafra10:
    Is there anything special that she should bring with her, she has the police report, a picture of the jewelry and of course the newspaper article that he was arrested for this robbery.

    Whether the court will accept a police report or newspaper articles into evidence is questionable and depends on the particular county and judge.  In regular court, those things wouldn't be admissible.  It would be better to have a certified copy of the verdict from the criminal action.  Also, she'll need evidence to prove her theory that the landlord negligently hired the maintenance guy.

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 8:38 AM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    Drew:
    To me, having paid off other claims sure seems to tilt the equation in form of constructive admission by LL as to misdeeds of his employee.

    And that is exactly why evidence like this isn't admissible.

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 5:16 PM In reply to

    • jeafra10
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 16 2010
    • CA
    • Posts 63

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    There are 100 Units where she lives.  The LL/Owner knew that he was a felon but gave him a chance, he had a record of stealing before.  One of the renter's went to the sentencing and heard this kids whole history.  &n... has no money, he was arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin, and committing a felony while out on bail, deputies said in the release. These people all got together and were going to first file a class action law suit but now each is trying to handle there loss with the owner one by one.  He gave one person free rent for a few months, and another some money, I guess like someone said that doesn't make the Owner liable but he knows he on the carpet with these people.  When the first robbery happened all they had to do was post on the bulletin board but they got scared and they didn't want anyone to know.  He had a master key to all 100 Units.  I guess this friend of mine can go to the court and pull his sentencing if she has to produce this at the Small Claims Court.  This Owner might try and settle before Small Claims Court, I will post after court.

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 6:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    jeafra10:
    When the first robbery happened all they had to do was post on the bulletin board but they got scared and they didn't want anyone to know.

    Or the landlord could have taken back the master key and not allowed this kid to work alone any more, or let the kid go (with or without a face-to-face confrontation first) after the first burglary.

     

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 7:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    jeafra10:
    These people all got together and were going to first file a class action law suit

    18 people does not a class action lawsuit make....

    jeafra10:
    When the first robbery happened

    It wasn't a robbery unless the person who was the victim was present.  If they weren't home, it was a burglary.

    jeafra10:
    I guess this friend of mine can go to the court and pull his sentencing if she has to produce this at the Small Claims Court.

    Unless she's suing the actual thief, that will do little good.  That he was convicted and sentenced doesn't prove liability on behalf of the landlord. 

    One question--you said the thief had some stolen items at the time he was arrested.  What you didn't say is 1) if he admitted to stealing from your friend's apartment and/or 2) whether any of her items were among those found.  I'd also question where her theft fell in the timeline of things being stolen.

  • Fri, Apr 22 2016 7:41 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,431

    Re: Stolen Jewelry - Maintenance Man at Apartment

    Seems Im wrong about being able,to leverage the Lls settlements with some tenants into court...but I still think more homework about holding Ll to hot seat is in order. Possible negligent hiring..failure to do a decent background check or hiring somebody with a record of theft .....and apparently entrusting the employee with master key for the units. And a job which placed him in that exact location.. Hopefully some of recovered loot,from employee is from OPs friends unit.



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