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Line 6 “Stolen Gear” Feature Now Live


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From Frank Ritchotte - posted on Facebook - sadly not here, but here ya go!

 

Line 6 Helix Family User Group OFFICIAL and ORIGINAL

 

“Hey everybody. We know you hate gear theft and so do we. Our CS team have worked with our IT group to add a “Mark as stolen” button in your account. If your gear is stolen you can activate this feature and if a support or any CS call comes in we will be flagged right away. We will then inform you.
This feature is live now
Click the edit’ icon for any registered product. It now includes an option to “mark as stolen”
Thank you!
Frank-“
 
So now you know!
 
Edit: Strangely enough I can’t find the “Edit Icon”, but I haven’t had anything stolen yet.
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This is great... I wish more company's would do this. 

 

Our national music store chain in Canada has a "stolen" database.... and since they are so large coast to coast it is always worth reporting to them - as eventually the item might appear there for trade or service. The only problem is... they don't publicize it, I only know about it because I know a lot of the staff at my local store. 

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It’s a good feature,  but the devil is in the details. What will be done with this information? Yes, inform the owner from whom the device was stolen,  but then what? What good is that info to that owner? Will Line 6 identify and/or pursue the new registrant/owner if a CS or support call comes in? Will they attempt to engage local law enforcement? The new owner is likely unaware that they are in possession of stolen equipment. Are they somehow culpable for innocently buying something online or at a local used equipment shop?

 

Line 6 will likely do none of the above for legal reasons. In the end, all the original owner knows is that their stolen gear has resurfaced somewhere. They aren’t likely to get it back. Are they any better off knowing this? 

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7 minutes ago, silverhead said:

It’s a good feature,  but the devil is in the details. What will be done with this information? Yes, inform the owner from whom the device was stolen,  but then what? What good is that info to that owner? Will Line 6 identify and/or pursue the new registrant/owner if a CS or support call comes in? Will they attempt to engage local law enforcement? The new owner is likely unaware that they are in possession of stolen equipment. Are they somehow culpable for innocently buying something online or at a local used equipment shop?

 

Line 6 will likely do none of the above for legal reasons. In the end, all the original owner knows is that their stolen gear has resurfaced somewhere. They aren’t likely to get it back. Are they any better off knowing this? 

 

Good point, how will it benefit the victim, other than to know that it has be reported as stolen?

 

As you point out, the "new" owner could well be unaware of the theft and has unfortunately become a hapless dupe in this situation. If a person buys a "pre-owned" item in good faith and then has the police knocking at the door, it could become more than a little awkward.

 

I suppose it has been done with good intention.

 

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23 minutes ago, silverhead said:

 The new owner is likely unaware that they are in possession of stolen equipment. Are they somehow culpable for innocently buying something online or at a local used equipment shop?

 

They are not guilty of theft, but they are also not the rightful owner.... at least in Canada that's how it works. Law enforcement would follow up with where the new owner got it from.... if they felt it was worth the effort :)  Losing a Helix is a nightmare for some of us, but it ranks slightly above the theft of a package of batteries at a Walmart for police. 

 

23 minutes ago, silverhead said:

Yes, inform the owner from whom the device was stolen,  but then what? What good is that info to that owner? Will Line 6 identify and/or pursue the new registrant/owner if a CS or support call comes in? Will they attempt to engage local law enforcement?

 

IMO... the only thing Line 6 is responsible for is contacting the owner that reported it stolen. If the owner takes it up with law enforcement, Line 6 will have to share the "new registrant" info with police when asked, not with the original owner. 
 

23 minutes ago, silverhead said:

It’s a good feature,  but the devil is in the details.


Absolutely.... it would be nice to know the required procedure L6 would follow. 

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This is one of those things that probably sounded like a swell idea after the 3rd bong hit, but what is anyone to actually do with this "alert" once received? What little actionable info there'd be reeks of hearsay. Go ahead and stroll into a police station and tell them that you got an email from L6 claiming that your gear that was stolen 11months ago in Hackensack has allegedly surfaced in French Lick, Indiana. What are they gonna do...get on the phone with another LE agency half-way across the country and have them deploy the SWAT team? It's not gold bouillon looted from Fort Knox...there will be no cross-jurisdictional/ inter-agency cooperation for your stolen toy... nobody spends resources that way. Want piece of mind? Insure your stuff, and if it vanishes, cash the check and go shopping. That's the only way you'll be made anything close to whole again....

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I wonder what Line 6 does now when a new owner cannot register their equipment because the serial number is already registered? We get lots of questions about that here, and we usually reassure the new owner that Line 6 will help them with registration. Does Line 6 support simply reassign the serial number to the new owner, no questions asked, or do they perform some verification check with the previous owner to see if it was stolen? I don’t know but it might provide some insight into their follow up intentions with the ‘stolen gear’ feature.

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I think when I strolled into a police station I would tell them that Line 6 has reported they have it in their possession and that maybe Line 6 has the info of the person that turned it in. After that it would be up to the police to get it and determine when you would get it back. I can't remember if it's when the case has been closed or if it's after they determine they don't need it to try the case. This is based on a limited personal experience with one police department. I don't know if they all work this way. The few cops I know and have known, love getting bad guys and if they had the unit and the customer/criminal's info they would look into it

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Personally I would rather this sort of thing be resolved through home insurance than using scarce and expensive law enforcement resources. I’d bet (and hope) that following up on a situation like this would be wa-a-a-y down the list of law enforcement priorities.

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1 hour ago, silverhead said:

 I’d bet (and hope) that following up on a situation like this would be wa-a-a-y down the list of law enforcement priorities.

 

And that's precisely my point... outside of Mayberry, law enforcement has far more pressing concerns than chasing after somebody's missing guitar toys. They might not laugh right in your face when you file the report...but they'll definitely be laughing at the bar about the guy who ran hell bent for leather to his local precinct, waving an email, expecting them to move heaven and earth to rescue a kidnapped delay pedal... hell, unless it's a missing Picasso,  the way the gov't spends money, the time spent filling out the paper work will cost more then the value of most stolen items by several orders of magnitude. Insure your crap. The end.

 

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What your are saying may apply if they had to do an investigation with nothing other than it's been stolen. But you give them the stolen device and the perp's name and address that probably did it, i would disagree with that in most situations. There's always exceptions I guess but I think it's a nice thing for Line 6 to do. If it were to happen to me and Line 6 had the info,, I'd follow up with the police in my area. Y'all can do what you want.

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2 hours ago, brue58ski said:

But you give them the stolen device and the perp's name and address that probably did it,

 

Well that's just it... what are the odds that the thief just happens to be a local guitar player stealing for himself and intent on remaining in possession of the stolen goods? Slim to none... stolen goods get flipped, within hours or days of the theft. So whomever ends up in possession of it bought in on eBay or from some pawn shop or music store, blissfully unaware of where it came from. Can't just automatically perp-walk the poor slob off to jail, dripping head to toe with reasonable doubt.

 

So yes...there would have to be an investigation, which is why it is a complete and utter waste of time and resources for all but the most insanely valuable of items. They'll take your report because they have to, but it'll be so far down on their to-do list that the cop who wrote it up... his kid will graduate from the academy before anybody follows up on anything. It might be emotionally satisfying to get stuff back, and I'm sure it occasionally happens...but it's just dumb luck. 99.97% of the time nothing will get done, and your stuff is long gone and ain't coming back.

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2 hours ago, PierM said:

In 35 years of playing and messing around with these things, I never seen a stolen amp, guitar or pedal, going back to the original owner.

 

30 years ago while touring Czechia, I had a tuner stolen off stage during the gig. Went to the police the next day – Czech being my mother tongue so no language barrier – and eventually weeks later they caught a guy bragging in a pub to have stolen a tuner from a Swiss band. Eventually my Czech buddies picked it up. I think they are still using it to this day, haha.

 

Not so much luck in 1992 after my PRS and Ibanez AM-250 were stolen from the backstage area due to sloppy security. At least I got all my money back partially via insurance, the rest from the event promoter. But I do miss the Ibanez (same as this one).

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11 minutes ago, lou-kash said:

 

30 years ago while touring Czechia, I had a tuner stolen off stage during the gig. Went to the police the next day – Czech being my mother tongue so no language barrier – and eventually weeks later they caught a guy bragging in a pub to have stolen a tuner from a Swiss band. Eventually my Czech buddies picked it up. I think they are still using it to this day, haha.

 

Not so much luck in 1992 after my PRS and Ibanez AM-250 were stolen from the backstage area due to sloppy security. At least I got all my money back partially via insurance, the rest from the event promoter. But I do miss the Ibanez (same as this one).

 

Unless it's really expensive stuff, I understand that cops cant really waste their time, investigating something like stolen pedals, or average guitars...so Im not that surpsrised it's extremely hard to get s**t back.

 

Said that, I still keep track of all my guitars and hardware serials...but imho expensive stuff is being moved far away from where it has been stolen. I mean, like a different area and a different market.

 

 

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1 hour ago, PierM said:

 

Unless it's really expensive stuff, I understand that cops cant really waste their time, investigating something like stolen pedals, or average guitars...so Im not that surpsrised it's extremely hard to get s**t back.

 

Said that, I still keep track of all my guitars and hardware serials...but imho expensive stuff is being moved far away from where it has been stolen. I mean, like a different area and a different market.

 

 

 

Well they wasted their time for an original Variax 500 which, as I stated, I got back. This was after they were discontiued and were going for about $500 on ebay.

 

 

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19 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Well that's just it... what are the odds that the thief just happens to be a local guitar player stealing for himself and intent on remaining in possession of the stolen goods? Slim to none... stolen goods get flipped, within hours or days of the theft. So whomever ends up in possession of it bought in on eBay or from some pawn shop or music store, blissfully unaware of where it came from. Can't just automatically perp-walk the poor slob off to jail, dripping head to toe with reasonable doubt.

 

So yes...there would have to be an investigation, which is why it is a complete and utter waste of time and resources for all but the most insanely valuable of items. They'll take your report because they have to, but it'll be so far down on their to-do list that the cop who wrote it up... his kid will graduate from the academy before anybody follows up on anything. It might be emotionally satisfying to get stuff back, and I'm sure it occasionally happens...but it's just dumb luck. 99.97% of the time nothing will get done, and your stuff is long gone and ain't coming back.

 

My experience has been totally different from what you describe. And your knowledge of what is and isn't a complete waste of time and resources seems to be a bit lacking. Time and resources were wasted on my stolen guitar and I got it back. I also know one other person for whom the police wasted time and resources to find their not expensive enough to waste time with, stolen property and they got it back. Yes, I agree that once something is stolen, there is credence to what you say. I believe most people are aware of that including me. But I know there's NO chance at all of getting it back if you don't report it. Just what the cop told me. And as little chance as there may be of getting your stuff back, more information can only help. So Line 6 is doing something to provide that. There is nothing wrong with that. I need to remember that there are always nay sayers for every idea. I'm just glad you weren't around me when my guitar was stolen. Since I wouldn't want to waste the cops time and resources pursuing a theft. Oh wait, isn't that what they do? And in my case they did. I'll just have to disagree with you and whoever else, and thank Line 6 for doing something that just possibly could help. However little help folks say it would be. It's better than doing nothing. Which is what you seem to be suggesting. I am  pretty sure I won't change any ones mind about this and I know, no one will change mine. Sad that I've wasted as much time as I have on this. But, that was my choice wasn't it? What's wrong with me? Sigh. I need a vacation. I'm not going to waste anymore time of mine or yours on this.

 

Thank you Line 6 for implementing this despite how much of a waste others may think it is.

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18 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

 

….Sigh. I need a vacation. I'm not going to waste anymore time of mine or yours on this.

 

Thank you Line 6 for implementing this despite how much of a waste others may think it is.

Good idea! Waste no more time on this.

 

I do think it’s a good feature. The original owner will know that their stolen gear has turned up somewhere. How useful that info is depends on whether and how the original owner tries to pursue it - through Line 6, law enforcement, or their household insurance company. After all, the insurance company is the only one with a financial motivation to pursue assuming the original owner has made a claim and received some payment.

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Given that I work for a company that does software for police agencies, I thought I would add my 2 cents...

 

When property is stolen, and you have a valid serial number for it, you should report this to your local police agency. MANY agencies will actually allow you to self report this type of crime and list the details of your stolen property. The more detail you can provide, the better the chances are of recovering it. They don't have to send an officer out to take the report and you can do it at your own leisure in the comfort of your own home. The police agency is then required to verify the report, and if there is any property with a serial number on it, they are to add it to the NCIC database which is national in scope. Any agency within the US can then search this database, using the serial number, to verify if it is indeed registered as stolen.

 

If you don't have a serial number, it won't go anywhere other than the local PD. Your chances of getting your property back are pretty much nil. But you need the report for insurance purposes. 

 

So... how I can see that this could work is... Line 6 notifies the owner that their stolen property has turned up somewhere. The owner can then notify their local PD that their stolen item has turned up somewhere (if they have previously reported it). That agency can easily verify NCIC that the item has been reported stolen and is on file. They can easily contact the local agency where the item appears to have been located with any information on who appears to have it. It is now up to that agency to attempt to locate the item.

 

It certainly will be a low priority item for that agency, but they are required to attempt to locate the item. Typically, when patrol has some down time, they can poke around. Their goal is to get the property back to the owner. 

 

If they DO manage to locate the item, the person in possession of it can only be charged with possession of a stolen item at the most. This might end up being a citation depending on the history of the person. They can't prove that they stole the item, and they certainly won't "investigate" it. Depending on the story the possessor gives, they might just seize the item and walk away. The PD can then notify the local PD of the recovery. How the item then gets back to the original owner is outside of my knowledge. I think it's up to the owner to make those arrangements. 

 

Random audits are performed at each agency for them to validate that the NCIC record is still valid. This applies to Stolen Vehicles, Missing persons, and Stolen Property. The agency must contact the reporting person to see if the status of the record is still accurate. 

 

The more common way stolen property ends up being recovered though is purely by accident. Someone gets arrested for some crime (typically drug possession), and they happen to have a lot of "questionable" property on/with them. The cops can easily check the serial numbers against NCIC to see if it has been reported as stolen. This, I can tell you, is VERY common practice. Our mobile software that is in the police cars has the required form to do this, and they do it all the time. If any of the property is stolen, it's an additional charge that they add, and help someone get their property back. 

 

So it happens more than you think but... you HAVE to report it to your local PD. They definitely won't investigate it to try to find out who stole it, unless it's a massive theft, but there are tools in place that can help you get your property back. 

 

I know the same process exists in Canada as well. Can't speak beyond those two countries though. 

 

I just had a meeting with a local PD yesterday afternoon where this was one of the topics of discussion. They are very conscious of reporting stolen/serialized property to NCIC. 

 

So... document the details and serial numbers of ALL of your musical gear that you might want to have the slim chance of getting it back if stolen. You might need it some day. 

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I never said the idea is bad, nor I said you shouldnt report to cops. I believe some of you is arguing for nothing.

 

I only said I never seen a stolen average value instrument, going back to the owner. And of course, all reported as stolen. Personal experience. World is a big place brothers, experience may differ, laws and priorities are different. Didnt want to go that route, as it's going to be boring politics.

 

Happy to see and know someone had a different experience.

 

Everything L6 is doing to help on this matter, is welcome.

 

<peace>

 

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33 minutes ago, scotterp said:

….

 

If they DO manage to locate the item, the person in possession of it can only be charged with possession of a stolen item at the most. This might end up being a citation depending on the history of the person. They can't prove that they stole the item, and they certainly won't "investigate" it. Depending on the story the possessor gives, they might just seize the item and walk away….

This is the most interesting part to me. The moral of the story seems to be that if you are buying anything used, from anyone anywhere, you are putting yourself at risk of being in possession of stolen property, leading to the above scenario. Caveat Emptor.

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3 hours ago, silverhead said:

This is the most interesting part to me. The moral of the story seems to be that if you are buying anything used, from anyone anywhere, you are putting yourself at risk of being in possession of stolen property, leading to the above scenario. Caveat Emptor.

 

Yup... always has been. 

 

Elaborating even more on this... Depending on the laws of each city,  local Pawn shops "may" be required to submit ALL pawn tickets to the local PD. At a couple of our customer sites, this was an electronic file where we would upload all of the data from the pawn shops into the PD's property database, and if any serialized items were found, we would spawn the automatic NCIC check to verify if the item was reported as stolen. If so, we would email the pawn detective of the hit to confirm if it was a matching item. There are some larger agencies that have a detective dedicated to monitoring the pawn shops because they are the most common place for thieves to sell their stolen items. 

 

There are some Pawn shop software companies that may be handling this themselves these days though as I haven't seen this requirement at our newer customers. It then comes down to whether the pawn shop owners themselves are recording all of their purchases and who they are buying from. :) 

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