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Old 05-03-2008, 02:06 PM  
Vegas_Dave Vegas_Dave is offline
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Legal Advice - Statute of Limitations...

My company sells musical instruments. We have a customer (long time good customer) who brought in his old handmade professional flute that he wants to sell. The flute will likely fetch $6,000+.

The manufacturer's website features the ability for anyone to look up the serial number. Well, this flute was stolen in 1973 according to company records.

Now we (myself and the customer) are doing the right thing and are contacting the manufacturer (as they ask this in the stolen notice).

My question is what legally could happen. I would think that a flute stolen 35 years ago has likely had the statute of limitations run out by now.

Any ideas???
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:14 PM   #2
kstater kstater is offline
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:15 PM   #3
kstater kstater is offline
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But seriously, I'm not a lawyer, but I would agree that as far as criminal charges are concerned, it's probably past time. But I would think that the company that produced the flute might have cause to get it back.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:28 PM   #4
alanm alanm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegas_Dave View Post
My company sells musical instruments. We have a customer (long time good customer) who brought in his old handmade professional flute that he wants to sell. The flute will likely fetch $6,000+.

The manufacturer's website features the ability for anyone to look up the serial number. Well, this flute was stolen in 1973 according to company records.

Now we (myself and the customer) are doing the right thing and are contacting the manufacturer (as they ask this in the stolen notice).

My question is what legally could happen. I would think that a flute stolen 35 years ago has likely had the statute of limitations run out by now.

Any ideas???
I'm going to assume that your customer acquired the flute from someone else. That said, Any legal hassles from 35 years ago would have long since expired. I suppose you could try to see if the original owner is still around and wants his flute back. But if you can't find the original owner I would guess that possession is 9/10th of the law.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:28 PM   #5
angelo angelo is offline
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What state is the company in ?
Each state has it's own statute of limitations I believe.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:29 PM   #6
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:33 PM   #7
angelo angelo is offline
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It looks like anywhere from three to five years for basic to grand theft
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:35 PM   #8
stlchiefs stlchiefs is offline
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Here's what could possibly happen:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,181988,00.html
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:38 PM   #9
Vegas_Dave Vegas_Dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kstater View Post
But seriously, I'm not a lawyer, but I would agree that as far as criminal charges are concerned, it's probably past time. But I would think that the company that produced the flute might have cause to get it back.
I doubt the manufacturer has ANY claim since they sold it to someone else.

The manufacturer is in Boston, MA.

This person purchased it years ago from the widow of another pro musician who purchased it through a teacher at least 20 years ago.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:42 PM   #10
Vegas_Dave Vegas_Dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlchiefs View Post
Here's what could possibly happen:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,181988,00.html
Interesting.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:45 PM   #11
stlchiefs stlchiefs is offline
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If the instrument has changed hands multiple times throughout the years all through legal transactions for just consideration your client will not get fingered for a crime. On the other hand if the true and original owner is found your client will most likely have to turn over the instrument to the rightful owner.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:50 PM   #12
Vegas_Dave Vegas_Dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlchiefs View Post
If the instrument has changed hands multiple times throughout the years all through legal transactions for just consideration your client will not get fingered for a crime. On the other hand if the true and original owner is found your client will most likely have to turn over the instrument to the rightful owner.
And he is prepared to turn it over if legally ordered to.

Its an interesting quandry. Its a shame because the customer has had this for 10+ years and has used it as a tool to make his living. He no longer needs this level of flute as he has other more modern ones, but he does need the money.

I will let you know how it turns out.
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:35 PM   #13
catfish307 catfish307 is offline
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I don't believe the manufacturer has any right to claim it since they didn't own it at the time it was stolen (I assume). And I would assume that a insurance claim was paid to the victim for the theft, so if anyone would have a right to it, it would be the insurance company. And since we know what insurance companies do to us, piss on them.
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:37 PM   #14
stlchiefs stlchiefs is offline
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Originally Posted by catfish307 View Post
I don't believe the manufacturer has any right to claim it since they didn't own it at the time it was stolen (I assume). And I would assume that a insurance claim was paid to the victim for the theft, so if anyone would have a right to it, it would be the insurance company. And since we know what insurance companies do to us, piss on them.
True, if it was insured when it was stolen. That was a key point in the article I posted. The Mustang was not insured for theft when it was stolen.

If it was not insured and you find the owner, hopefully never expecting to see it again and grateful for your customer's honesty, they are willing to pay a little reward. $$
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:35 PM   #15
banyon banyon is offline
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Statutes of limitations toll (stop running) in certain situations. Many times this is true if the defendant (civil or criminal) was out of state. So you would want to know what happened, when and where. Also, keep in mind the statute of limitations is just the timeframe to file an action. If the action was filed, and the filing party met any other required timelines on reviving the action, then it could still be actionable.

So, being that this flute is worth some $, I would want to check carefully to make sure an action hadn't ben filed by the rightful owner or the State (in a criminal action).

That's all pretty unlikely though, but I'm just thinking worst case scenario here. Probably it's been long forgotten.
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