Thursday, November 26, 2015 • 01:28

Make, Model, Serial Number… Please

February 12, 2014
Do you know the make, model, and serial number of everything you own? Few people do. If someone stole your chain saw, computer, weed whacker, or GPS device would it be simple to identify and return to you? In most cases the answer is no.

When a Deputy Sheriff takes a theft report their goal is to gather as much information as possible to increase the likelihood of returning your property. Questions they will ask include: do you have the serial number, are there any identifying marks, do you have photos of the item(s), etc. To increase the chances of being able to trace recovered property back to the rightful owner, the Sheriff's Department encourages you to keep track of all identifying information of your valuables.

In November of 2013, the Valley Center Sheriff's Substation held a stolen goods viewing where victims of home burglaries could come to the station and identify property that belonged to them after an investigation into a theft ring. Close to 1,000 stolen items were recovered and on display. While this viewing is over, you can increase your chances of recovering stolen items in the event you are the victim of a theft in the future by recording identifying information or adding your own.

Modern technology makes it simple to record the make, model, and serial number of anything you own. Photograph your property along with the identifying information and store the photos in a safe place. You may want to store these photos on your email account or in several virtual locations that can be accessed at any time. Photographing your receipts at the time of purchase is another great way to keep an inventory of your items and to prove ownership in the event something is stolen.

Additionally, marking your property with an Owner Applied Number can help trace property back to you. This can be done with a hand engraver, permanent ink or even a can of spray paint.

Providing serial numbers, photos, and identifying information for your lost or stolen property is vital to solve crimes and, potentially, to return items to their true owners. Call the Sheriff 's Crime Prevention Specialist at the Valley Center Substation at (760) 751-4408 if you have questions or need other crime prevention information.

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