What to do when your gear is stolen

It’s been a while since I covered a topic like this, but seems like something that should be talked about. I’ll talk about the standard operating procedure, and in red, I’ll write about what we have done to plan for the eventualities of this process. Hopefully, you’ll get some idea of the thought we’ve put into the site, and how it can benefit you in all of it’s details. This might be a bit of a long read, but it might be the most valuable read you ever do.

So, what happens? You discover your gear is gone. Maybe you’re waking up after last nights gig and getting to the van to find the van isn’t there anymore, or maybe the trailer isn’t, or there’s a broken window. Maybe you open up your guitar case, and the guitar isn’t there. Maybe you’re loading out, or in and the guitar is suddenly gone, you just put it down a second ago. Well, you have a couple of scenarios here. First your van or trailer. In some ways, this is good news. Tracking a van is much easier than tracking a guitar, and much more valuable, a bigger target for police. Plus, there’s a license plate that is visible. You do remember your license plate right? Is it a rental? Did you write down the plate of the rental?

1. Call the police immediately, get them there to take a report and get it onto the airwaves. Remember, TIME IS EVERYTHING. The longer you delay, the further the gear gets from you, and the more into the market it gets. The last band I talked to had spent two weeks trying to find serials before publicizing it, and by that time, the gear is gone.

2. So the police will take a little while to get there, five minutes minimum, maybe twenty. Keep your head, think of what you had, start getting a list together starting with the biggest stuff. It’s most important to get the report in whether you have the serials or not, you can track numbers down and amend the report later. Just get the report going and out there.

3. Get your serial numbers. What? you never recorded your serial numbers? This is why GearSecure has the Gearbox. In the Gearbox, you have your serial numbers ready to access, anytime, anywhere. One of the biggest issues we see with thefts is that when one occurs, the owner will spend a couple weeks trying to figure out what the serial, contacting the store they got it at, maybe they think of who did work on it, the repair shops put serials on their receipts, right? By that time, the gear is long gone. Your Gearbox will save all of this time and effort, and get the word out immediately. 

Legally, property cannot be confiscated by a civilian, or by a business. Typically, when a business looks at a potential street buy, they will try to ascertain whether the property is stolen, and if they feel iffy on it, the best they can do is pass on it, especially in the absence of other information, like a police report containing a serial number. Stores are quite willing, usually, to call law enforcement if they feel they can help someone, but they have to feel very certain. A Police report is the only documentation that will kick off a legal recovery. Without a police report, you basically took a blurry photo of Bigfoot. It’s completely anecdotal, not actual evidence, not going to bring your gear back to you.

4. So now it’s time to get the word out. What do you do? You go trawling at pawn shops. You know how many pawn shops there are within a day’s drive of you? Have you ever been to one of them, have a relationship with the owner? What about music shops? You have a guy in every one of them? How long is it going to take to get to every one of those?

In your Gearbox, you simply change the status to “stolen” and enter police report details. This will start a process of getting the information to our partners in pawn and retail. We’re working to build the biggest network of businesses ever to participate in this sort of endeavor, but even if it takes a little to share the information, the database is searchable by serial number and item, and the police report you have entered will already be viewable. On your own, you can hit ten, maybe twenty if you have the time and are persistent. And that might take two weeks at least. With our system, we can get word out to every store we’re affiliated with in minutes. 

5. So now you also start to search the usual internet marketplaces. You know the usual ones, I bet you can think of three. There are a lot more out there, across many platforms. Are you going to keep looking at all of them, all the time? Every member of GearSecure can search to verify any piece of gear they are considering buying. That’s an army of lookers, who can report an instrument to site administrators. What’s more, we’re setting up messaging to alert you to anytime someone searches your serial number. This can serve as your alert to look on these sites. The user may also send a message to you (without visibility of your contact information) as to where they found it. It’s in the works. 

6. You may also talk about it on social media. Set up a recovery fund, get retweets and shares. These are certainly important, but how far is your reach? GearSecure has always taken an active social media stance. We care about our followers and will always help, promote, encourage and support our crew. Hopefully that reciprocates when we encounter a theft emergency. We put it out there, and it spreads. And this theory has already proven true. Part of the network is everyone that we talk to on a regular basis. Our reach is far and wide.

You might think that you know where your gear is at all times. Have you had a friend help you move recently? Hire a moving company? Have workers in the house? Maybe while you were away? Any of these can make you vulnerable. Maybe it’s your backup guitar and you haven’t opened the case in a while. Because you’re gear is in your GearBox, anyone searching a serial may come across your guitar in the market, and you’ll receive word to verify your gear. Your Gearbox protects your gear even when you don’t know it’s gone. We may help recover your gear even if you don’t know it’s gone, it has happened before. 

But let’s say that trail runs cold. The thief moved it through other channels, and it didn’t hit our radar. What then? The gear will turn up in the market again, eventually the player will get tired of it, outgrow, needs will change, and they’ll look to sell it. In most cases, this trail is cold, and won’t be revisited. GearSecure’s database doesn’t forget. In this case, it will be a private sale, either person to person, at a guitar show, through an internet seller, or person to retailer. Your information is still in the database. It will come up again, but in order to retrieve that property legally, obligations must be met. GearSecure works with law enforcement to aid in any recovery effort that may happen, providing support in any bit of expertise a detective might need to obtain a warrant. 






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