A buddy of mine just got his car broken into, and some chronic relieved him of some pretty expensive Ulua fishing reels. I work in a pawn shop in Ewa Beach, so I deal with a lot of people that just got jacked. They come into the shop thinking that they’re going to find their stuff sitting on our shelves, but that’s just not the way it works. Here is a quick guide to what you should do when your fishing gear gets stolen.
FILE A DAMN POLICE REPORT!
You would be surprised how many people get all pissed about getting jacked, but they don’t even bother to call the cops… What, you got warrants? The whole process takes less than an hour, and they’ll come to you most of the time. You’ll have to provide a detailed description of what was stolen, so if you want to save the cop some time, you can type out a description of the items and print it out to attach to the report.
Here is the description I wrote of an Ulua pole that got lifted from my yard a year ago: One Piece 13 Foot Ulua Fishing Rod, Black in color with Maroon/Yellow wrapping and reflective tape, Stainless Steel Cap, Hilo Guides, Fuji Brand Reel Seat with Label “Kimura Hawaii.” - The cop told me that it was one of the most detailed descriptions he’s ever read. What can I say… I know my gear. I didn’t get the pole back, but at least I knew that whoever jacked it wasn’t going to be able to pawn it with a description like that.
There are several reasons why it’s important to file a police report. First, you’re not going to be able to file a insurance claim without one (car, home, boat, or renter’s). If someone tries to pawn or sell it to a legit pawn shop, the cops will flag it when they review the shop’s paperwork that they’re legally required to submit for everything they take in. If you happen to catch the guy with your gear and don’t feel like getting locked up for breaking his fingers, you can call the cops and reference the police report when you call.
Put The Word Out
Spread the word amongst your fishing friends. Let them know what, when, and where it was stolen. Some kid once stole a reel from our shop; we mentioned it to a customer that day, and he said that the kid had just tried to sell the reel to him at the beach. The more people that know about it, the harder it’s going to be for the thief to move it in the fishing community, and you’ll increase your chances of getting it back.
Check Craigslist Every Day
Craigslist is a great place to find some good deals, but let’s face it… It’s part of the black market, and thieves move stuff on it all the time. I read a story once on the Aquahunter’s forum about a guy who got his kayak back by religiously checking Craigslist for kayaks matching his. The thief posted it, and he called over and over until the guy finally called back to say that it was sold already. He posted an ad on Craigslist for the buyer to call him, and he got the kayak back.
If You Don’t Have Distinguishing Marks, You’re S#!T out of Luck
All the info above will improve your chances of getting your stuff back, but the truth is that the majority of stolen items in Hawaii aren’t returned to their owners. Even if you do manage to track down your stolen items, it’s nearly impossible to prove that it’s actually yours unless it’s uniquely customized, has a serial number, or has a distinguishing mark on it. So take the time right now, grab a knife or a fishhook, and mark your gear!
Be sure to engrave on something that won't rust.