Theft and Loss Recovery

Posted by Raphial Hebert
You can go to my Amazon Wishlist if you'd like to help buy important necessities, such as dog food, or crucial parts to help winterize my RV for these cold months. Anything helps!
2023 has been difficult already through the beginning of the year. With the adjustment of divorce, the class action lawsuit against my rental property my shop is located in, and among other inconveniences and financial loss, I then had a sudden theft and break-in occur a month ago. I was finishing up the repair on my RV's shower and bathroom that night before, at about 6:30am, a group of thugs broke into my RV and 3 other vehicles; two of them mine, and one of them a customer's. 

I heard the last break-in of my Lincoln Town Car's glass being smashed, and when I came outside (Luckily I was in the shop), I saw three guys crammed into the car rummaging through everything I had. I quickly chased them off and had my dog, a Belgian Malinois, run after the last of the three guys. She caught up to him, but by then he had reached the building by the road, and I couldn't see her. For her safety, I called her back. All three men got away.

Minutes after looking over the damage, it became quickly apparent they had broken into more than just the Lincoln. They broke into my '79 Volvo 240 wagon, the Lincoln, my customer's Buick, and my RV. Unfortunately I had left all of my power tools, and several bags of tools, in the RV the night before when I finished up several weeks of work in the bathroom. They stole my Winchester 30.06 rifle, my 12g shotgun, my laptop bag with my expensive Acer Nitro 5 gaming laptop (And a ton of extras in the bag) and all of my power tools. About $900 worth of power tools and battery packs... They ransacked my RV and even took a big $h!t in the bathroom and peed all over the floor... It took all day just to clean the RV alone. It was horrid. They even tried stealing the RV, hacked up some of the wiring underneath the dash, and completely ruined the ignition lock cylinder the key goes into.

I had to overdraft my account and pay for the glass for three of the vehicles so I could secure them again, and they wouldn't be subject to the current rainy and winter weather we're having. On top of everything else I'm dealing with, and the loss of my business and slow transition into new work, finances have piled up faster than I can keep up with. Now I'm in the hole, and have no money left in any of my several bank accounts. I'm several bills behind, and I've had to spend and overdraft all I had just to recover a small portion of my items so I could continue work. I've been in contact with the local sheriff's department, but it's been near useless working with them. There is a case number, a file, but nothing has come of it, and their communication is completely lacking. Above all else, this was a huge blow to my mental state and morale... I've been dealing with so much terrible circumstances this year, every single month of 2023, and the end of 2022. I just want a break...

The following items have been stolen:
  • My father's 30.06 Winchester rifle with scope, bipod, and case (Very upset about this one).
  • 12g shotgun with case.
  • 2019 17" Acer Nitro 5 gaming laptop, charger, and laptop bag.
  • Wacom Intuos pen and tablet (In laptop bag).
  • Very expensive laptop dock (In laptop bag).
  • Large bulk high wattage USB charger station (In laptop bag).
  • 500GB M.2 external USB3 SSD (In laptop bag).
  • Ryobi Impact drill + 4Ah battery pack
  • Ryobi Hammer drill + 4Ah battery pack
  • Ryobi Bluetooth Speaker + 4H battery pack
  • Ryobi Lantern light + 3Ah battery pack
  • Bag of misc tools (Wrenches, hand tools, and a few expensive Milwakee hole saws).
  • My 28" black Schwinn cruiser bicycle (Almost took off with my more expensive second bicycle)
On top of sourcing out rare glass to replace the broken windows, I had to immediately invest into an alarm kit for the RV so this may never happen again. I already have GPS tracking for the RV, but something had to be done quickly about the potential for this happening again. I outsourced a cheap $30 alarm kit and did some soldering and custom work to have it work directly with the RV's electrical system, and it's amazing. Comes with two remotes, x2 motion sensors, and x3 break-away sensors. With two days of work, I know have a proper alarm system for the RV.

The biggest loss here, other than my father's rifle I've had since I was 18, was my laptop set. I extensive amounts of web design and development work on top of my graphical design work (And illustrations) and I heavily relied on my nice laptop (First nice laptop I've ever had honestly for a year) to get work done in the field or remotely. There's been times where I took a small vacation away somewhere local in my RV, and my laptop was my #1 tool I had at my disposal to get my work done. Without it, I would have not been able to get a third of the work done I've accomplished. However now I'm forced to find other alternatives with no finances. I was able to find and rebuild my 2012 ASUS 15.6" laptop with a (now) 2nd gen i7 and 12GB of RAM with a small 500GB SSD to get the job done, however its screen resolution is far too small, about a 720p equivalent. It's extremely hard to work on, isn't near as fast and snappy as my previous laptop, and provides some inconvenient challenges. However, not only did I lose my laptop, but my Wacom Intuos tablet as well.. and that is absolutely needed to get my work done remotely.

With my living situation being very rocky and very unpredictable right now, especially due to the divorce and lawsuit, having a good, or even decent, laptop setup is extremely crucial to continue my work.

Additionally, many know that I work in automotive. I was an automotive repair shop before everything happened at the end of 2022, and I lost my business due to the stress and inconveniences of everything. It is imperative and crucial that I have my power tools, at least the two drills (All of them were about a year old), to not only continue doing work on the side, but to continue the upkeep and maintenance on my RV and other "handyman" projects. The work never stops, but not having my power tools has greatly, exponentially, hindered my work efficiency. I constantly find myself needing them, and have found myself more frustrated at them being stolen than anything else, as it just handicaps my work and labor.

While the loss I've already been facing due to the horrendous circumstances dealt to me at the end of 2022 and into 2023 has been hard enough, I'm now faced with even more financial burden. Thankfully with the help of loved ones, friends, and family I've been able to scrape by. Some have purchased parts I needed for the RV's heater system, some have purchased things for my girl dog, and some have donated to help the cause and situation.

Because of all this, I am humbly asking for the help and aid of my community, friends, peers, family, and loved ones. I'm adjusting to so much mentally, physically, and geologically. These last 5 months since last December have easily been the hardest, most challenging and difficult months I've ever had in my life. It is hard to get ahead of the curve and get back on my feet, but I am trying my very, very best. I've been doing the best I can to still be in my son's life, and to get my life straightened out. I am humbly asking for help doing so.

Thank you.

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