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Lessons from a robbery
Old 27th December 2014
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Lessons from a robbery

Hello there talented colleagues,

The holidays were lovely for us over here save for one small detail: Our house was robbed seven days before Christmas. Ironically, we were in a different state where we are considering moving for better schools and... less crime.

They kicked in the door (deadbolt and all) and were back out in a matter of moments with over $10k of stuff. Neighbor kid managed a vague id of a car. Both work laptops, all the guitars on the stands in my home studio, my wife's entire jewelry box, iPod dock, Wi, and all the presents there were under the tree at that point. Classy.

It is just stuff and can by and large be replaced but here are some valuable lessons for the rest of you from the event. It could have been worse, except that we were already prepared because we had been robbed three years prior. (Did I mention we were already considering moving because of crime?)

Your insurance is going to want a lot of proof that you did indeed own the items and they will want to see valuations. Luckily, I had photos of every guitar that was stolen (front, back, serial number) and all that data for the laptops too. While the IRS only requires you to keep receipts for 7 years, I'm telling you to keep them forever for every major purchased item. TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR STUFF THIS WEEK.

You know where you should keep these photos? Not just on your computer! Luckily, I had them copied to several places. One place I keep these photos and a list of serial numbers is in a hidden directory of my website. That way... if someone steals my computer I can still access this info from any other computer!

Data redundancy: This is a hard one. I was SUPER lucky that they didn't notice or care enough to steal all the external drives plugged into the hub. While I am good about backing up projects, this has reminded me of the importance of off site backup! If you have an active ongoing project you should seriously consider something like dropbox. If they had taken the drives I would have been out hundred of hours of work in an on-going job.

USB dongles: Don't plug them straight into your computer. Put them on the USB hub and hide that hub back behind some other gear. I was fortunate that my iLok and Vienna keys are still in my possession. Thus, once I get a new machine & spend a few hours re-installing I will be able to boot right up into my projects and keep working.

Insurance: DEFINITELY DEFINITELY DEFINITELY have it. It has saved us financial maiming several times. If Nationwide wants to put me in a commercial I would gladly do it. If you have certain large items make sure you get a rider and list them. You can get renters insurance for cheap. You can put some gear on your home policy. Although if you are too big you are going to need a business policy or some additional rider.

Consider an alarm: They are aren't going to stop a break in. They are still going to to get stuff. But it decreases the time they will be there and that is critical. Ours was FAST but it was still $10k. We have heard of people that had ROOMFULS walk out the door in a moving truck!!

Everything that is important is safe and sound. And it was actually a lovely Christmas because some many people were unexpectedly kind and generous to us. It shows you that most people are in fact decent and wonderful despite a few bad apples.

Be safe and be prepared. Happy holidays to all!
-Sam
Old 27th December 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
P.S. If you see any of these guitars surface in your neck of the woods, drop me a line.

Ibanez Artist. Presitige. Made in Japan. Serial F0336064
Taylor 614-CE with quilted maple back. Serial 20000501113.
Fender Telecaster. Made in Mexico. Serial: MZ7113253.
Fender Precision Bass. Sage green. Made in Mexico. Serial: MZ2030403.

The great thing about those multiguitar stands is that they hold a lot of guitars. The bad thing? They make it easy for a robber to walk out the door with a bunch of guitars!

Best,
Sam
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Lessons from a robbery-2011-07-31-18.24.38.jpg   Lessons from a robbery-2011-07-31-18.25.10.jpg   Lessons from a robbery-2011-07-31-18.49.06.jpg   Lessons from a robbery-2011-07-31-18.49.18.jpg   Lessons from a robbery-2011-07-31-18.13.58.jpg  

Old 27th December 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 

My God! This is so totally horrible. I am so sorry to hear this news. You are handling this pretty well, I can't say I would be as calm as you seem.

Here's hoping some of your things turn up.

Be Well man!
Robby

p.s. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.
Old 27th December 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Hannes_F's Avatar
 

Ouch ... all the best for you!
Old 27th December 2014
  #5
255447
Guest
Wow. What a bunch of pathetic losers. With the amount of loot they stole and your excellent record keeping, surely something will turn up shortly that leads the authorities to a bust. May they rot in a cell...........
Old 27th December 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Very sorry to hear about this. Where are you located?

EDIT: Ahh. Mississippi. I see now that I logged in.

Again sorry to hear. Im in Dallas so Ill keep these photos around and scan craigslist here to see if anything pops up.
Old 27th December 2014
  #7
Gear Head
 
slodk's Avatar
Very sorry to hear of this!
Old 27th December 2014
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Really sorry to hear about this Sam, a completely crap thing to happen at any time, but especially Christmas.
I hope you can get up and running again really quick, and let's hope someone spots those guitars somewhere.

All best wishes

Barrie (Bignold)
Old 27th December 2014
  #9
I cannot believe you've been robbed twice in 3 years - move Sam - move right now!
Old 27th December 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
f***ing ****-******* m************n bastards!

Thanks for the photo tip, i'm commenting here so this remains as a reminder to me.... i got amazingly good at backing up after one v. close near-miss, but i'm innocent on the robbery front (touch wood!) so need to be getting on with stuff like this...

You sound remarkably philosophical about all this, I think that makes you a rich man in non-material terms...
Old 27th December 2014
  #11
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
:-( :-( :-(

So sorry Sam. May the new year bring you much happiness and success.
Old 27th December 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Amber's Avatar
 

Damn Sam, I just watched Home Alone and just read this.

All I can say is try to invest in some CCTV. My girlfriends mother has done this for her shop and home and it's surprisingly cheap and hi def and all data gets backed up remotely as well. Usually in small towns, someone will know who the robber is. Maybe the new gear you buy with the insurance money will spur on some new music! The whole each guitar has a couple of songs in it thing and all...

All the best Sam!
Old 27th December 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Jay-'s Avatar
if any one can get into my house they must be Rambo with a machine gun.
I have 6 large breed dogs in a kennel. two English mastiffs and two Danes.
One of the dogs tops 180 pounds, has taken down two deer, 3 possums, two robbers with tool bags and hammers, 4 smaller neighbor dogs.

Sorry about the loss, Im sure it makes you mad.
Attached Thumbnails
Lessons from a robbery-nimz.jpg   Lessons from a robbery-awwa.jpg  
Old 27th December 2014
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

And my friends thought i was weird when i talked about pulling out the door jam and redoing it with steel.
Old 28th December 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
if any one can get into my house they must be Rambo with a machine gun.
I have 6 large breed dogs in a kennel. two English mastiffs and two Danes.
One of the dogs tops 180 pounds, has taken down two deer, 3 possums, two robbers with tool bags and hammers, 4 smaller neighbor dogs.

Sorry about the loss, Im sure it makes you mad.
We too use Great Danes and always have done. Danes and GSDs!

I remember once I was in bed in our trailer behind one of the PA trucks and some idiot tried to break into the truck our trailer was hitched to. I gave one of the two Danes called 'Baby' we had in the trailer with us the command 'Get the cat!' and off she went.

A minute later, 'Baby' came back with a piece of cloth in her mouth, proud as punch.

The same dog actually gave evidence in court, when someone attacked a punter by hitting him repeatedly with several bottles. I sent the dog in to arrest the man and I had to prove to the court that the dog would only arrest the attacker. The judge and some officials as well as the lawyers went to the local police station car park where a dog handler all in his gear had to pretend to attack me. 'Baby' arrested him. Then I attacked the handler and she arrested me!

They are totally neurotic and crazy, they chew stuff, ****e everywhere and insist on taking part in everything, no matter what, but a Great Dane bitch is just the best dog you can get.

When they have their once-a-year heat, the holes in the garden (nest building!) look like someone's gone nuts with a mini-digger!
Old 28th December 2014
  #16
Good thread to sub. Hope you get your gear back and a good reminder that we all need to take the steps to document and have insurance.
Old 28th December 2014
  #17
Sam Watson, thank you for taking time to write this, reminding us what to do and look out for. I feel for your guitars and the loss... I have lots of guitars and none of them can be replaced.

iLok: my advice for any iLok owner is to have a Zero Downtime subscription which includes TLC (Theft & Loss Coverage).
Old 28th December 2014
  #18
Gear Head
 
D2therJ's Avatar
That absolutely ****ing sucks man. I'm sorry for your misfortune. After 2 robberies, if you're financially able, move out.
Old 28th December 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Honestly, when I got out of a meeting and took my phone off silent and saw that it was blown up with 12 missed calls and tons of "EMERGENCY. CALL IMMEDIATELY!" texts I was afraid there had been a car wreck and the kids / grandparents were in the hospital or something like that. So when it turned out to just be some stuff being stolen, I was mad - for sure! - but not totally flipped out. I would say that before having kids I would have taken the loss of instruments WAY more personally. But those things can all be replaced. People can't.

Love the idea of a Great Dane grabbing the thieves! Those stories made me chuckle! We actually *HAVE* dogs. One is a mutt who is clearly part Irish Wolf Hound. Unfortuneately we were gone long enough that they were up at my mother's house for easier keeping. And the broke in the very next morning. Clearly people have been watching the neighborhood. Things like this come in waves around here. Then they bust the group of 4 or 5 a**holes and it quiets down. Never the less, we are definitely leaving the city.

No word yet on any stolen goods. So it goes. I have to finish my small mountain of paperwork for insurance tomorrow and then start replacing things as necessary.

Some other useful thoughts:
* I wish that I only used gmail. I have a huge archive of email on my laptop. That is quite the identity theft liability. Tax info from turbo tax too. Ugh.
* I wish I had put one of those laptop Lojak applications on my machine. My buddy had that when his was stolen. It basically locates and/or remote wipes/bricks your machine.
* I never have my browser save my password for any critical site. (That includes Facebook.) I changed a bunch of passwords anyway for safety. (Due to the email archive.)
* I didn't leave a screensaver-with-password activated. I wish I had. Those things annoy me when working though.
* In that past I was better about hiding drives, laptops, & instruments when going out of town. Was just too rushed when heading out around the holidays this year.
* They didn't bother digging through the kid rooms. Note to self: HIDE EXPENSIVE STUFF IN THE KIDS' ROOMS!!!

All the best,
Sam
Old 28th December 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metrik View Post
iLok: my advice for any iLok owner is to have a Zero Downtime subscription which includes TLC (Theft & Loss Coverage).
Great tip! I'll look into it. Anyone know if Vienna Symphonic has a similar deal? It would be brutal to have to rebuy things like that!!

-Sam
Old 28th December 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
 
spiderman's Avatar
Wow.... terrible news Sam. Hoping they catch the bastards and put them underground. Hoping your insurance process is as smooth as possible.
Old 29th December 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
 
EofN's Avatar
I really hate to sound pedantic, but you actually experienced a burglary, not a robbery - which involves a confrontation with personal violence being used or threatened.

However, I hope you get your stuff back, and thank you for the tips you gave to everyone else on how to reduce the chances of getting victimized by this scum.

I will keep my eyes open for your stuff when I'm on Craigslist.
Old 29th December 2014
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Evil Jack's Avatar
Scumbags.
Same thing happened to me around this time last year, & sadly it happens to most people at some point...

3 laptops and a mountain bike I was going to try and get out on a bit more!
My studio escaped their attention - although I think they were in a hurry...

Backups and insurance are ESSENTIAL - although it can sometimes be a battle to get them to pay up...

All the best.
Old 29th December 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
if any one can get into my house they must be Rambo with a machine gun.
I have 6 large breed dogs in a kennel. two English mastiffs and two Danes.
One of the dogs tops 180 pounds, has taken down two deer, 3 possums, two robbers with tool bags and hammers, 4 smaller neighbor dogs.

Sorry about the loss, Im sure it makes you mad.
My uncle uses Rotweilers for the same purpose. He always has at least two. Funny thing about them I never knew (don't know if this is genetic or what) but all of the Rotweilers he had will happily let anyone into the house. And they follow you around the house, laying or sitting behind you.

The teeth don't come out until you try to leave and get past them. Hahahaha. Happened to my mother once, she was stuck in the house for 2 hours. She went in looking for my uncle, the dogs came up and licked her and greeted her. She started walking around going farther and farther into the house. The dogs were behind her, they would stop and sit or lay down at each new doorway she passed through. Finally after my mother realized nobody was home she turned to leave and started walking towards the door of the room she was in to get into the main hallway of the house. As soon as she took two steps towards them they started to growl and show their teeth. she took two steps back, and the dogs were fine. She was trying to talk to them, etc... nothing helped. As soon as she tried to walk toward them to get out they started getting aggressive. Eventually after about 2 hrs my uncle came home and had to come up and tell the dogs to let her out of the room. Crazy huh?
Old 29th December 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Amber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
We too use Great Danes and always have done. Danes and GSDs!

I remember once I was in bed in our trailer behind one of the PA trucks and some idiot tried to break into the truck our trailer was hitched to. I gave one of the two Danes called 'Baby' we had in the trailer with us the command 'Get the cat!' and off she went.

A minute later, 'Baby' came back with a piece of cloth in her mouth, proud as punch.

The same dog actually gave evidence in court, when someone attacked a punter by hitting him repeatedly with several bottles. I sent the dog in to arrest the man and I had to prove to the court that the dog would only arrest the attacker. The judge and some officials as well as the lawyers went to the local police station car park where a dog handler all in his gear had to pretend to attack me. 'Baby' arrested him. Then I attacked the handler and she arrested me!

They are totally neurotic and crazy, they chew stuff, ****e everywhere and insist on taking part in everything, no matter what, but a Great Dane bitch is just the best dog you can get.

When they have their once-a-year heat, the holes in the garden (nest building!) look like someone's gone nuts with a mini-digger!
The ****e everywhere would be enough for me to avoid robbing somewhere!
Old 29th December 2014
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Honestly, when I got out of a meeting and took my phone off silent and saw that it was blown up with 12 missed calls and tons of "EMERGENCY. CALL IMMEDIATELY!" texts I was afraid there had been a car wreck and the kids / grandparents were in the hospital or something like that. So when it turned out to just be some stuff being stolen, I was mad - for sure! - but not totally flipped out. I would say that before having kids I would have taken the loss of instruments WAY more personally. But those things can all be replaced. People can't.

Love the idea of a Great Dane grabbing the thieves! Those stories made me chuckle! We actually *HAVE* dogs. One is a mutt who is clearly part Irish Wolf Hound. Unfortuneately we were gone long enough that they were up at my mother's house for easier keeping. And the broke in the very next morning. Clearly people have been watching the neighborhood. Things like this come in waves around here. Then they bust the group of 4 or 5 a**holes and it quiets down. Never the less, we are definitely leaving the city.

No word yet on any stolen goods. So it goes. I have to finish my small mountain of paperwork for insurance tomorrow and then start replacing things as necessary.

Some other useful thoughts:
* I wish that I only used gmail. I have a huge archive of email on my laptop. That is quite the identity theft liability. Tax info from turbo tax too. Ugh.
* I wish I had put one of those laptop Lojak applications on my machine. My buddy had that when his was stolen. It basically locates and/or remote wipes/bricks your machine.
* I never have my browser save my password for any critical site. (That includes Facebook.) I changed a bunch of passwords anyway for safety. (Due to the email archive.)
* I didn't leave a screensaver-with-password activated. I wish I had. Those things annoy me when working though.
* In that past I was better about hiding drives, laptops, & instruments when going out of town. Was just too rushed when heading out around the holidays this year.
* They didn't bother digging through the kid rooms. Note to self: HIDE EXPENSIVE STUFF IN THE KIDS' ROOMS!!!

All the best,
Sam
It's a long shot, but mite be worth checking. I know google and Facebook and probably some others make it real easy to check and see where the last few logins came from. If they managed to get into something you could at least get a general location and an IP address. You can also log out the session in case anything was left signed in. Like I said, I know it's a long shot, especially with how little police seem to care about theft these days, but who knows, and criminals don't tend to be the brightest bunch as far as covering their tracks.

Make sure you watch eBay vigilantly too. I used to know a guy who tried to pull an insurance scam. Reported a car stolen then tried to sell the parts on eBay. That did not end well for him.

I hate thieves, best of luck getting your stuff back and getting out of that town.
Old 30th December 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
lestermagneto's Avatar
Sam, that is horrible, I am so sorry. I am happy to hear your perspective though, and I am happy everyone in your family is safe. I too have been the victim of burglaries over the years, and you are right, the best thing is photos and sn#'s written down (uploaded to the cloud), etc...

And I know what you mean about being in a rush... I always think I'm going to take my drives and stash them, and sometimes I do, but it's always a rush to the airport, and with kids, I imagine it even worse.

Like you said, most of these robberies are "get in and out quickly" deals, so perhaps an additional lock on studio door might be in order for me, any impediment to slow them down in that regard, I can live with my Apple TV or iPod stolen, but not my synths or guitars or hard drives preamps etc......

I hope they catch the bastards, and give you ten minutes in a room with them with someone like Ndamukong Suh.

May the new year be better friend!
Old 31st December 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EofN View Post
I really hate to sound pedantic, but you actually experienced a burglary, not a robbery - which involves a confrontation with personal violence being used or threatened.
I really hate to wear turtle necks. So I don't. ;P

Yes, it was specifically a burglary - which is a separate police stat from robbery and has specific meaning in legal parlance. However, it is quite common and colloquial to say "My house was robbed." Since robbery is "the act or an instance of robbing" and to rob is "to take something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence; steal from.
2. to deprive (someone) of some right or something legally due: 3.to plunder or rifle (a house, shop, etc.)." I would say robbery is a suitable word.

Ergo, ... Pedantry achieved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lestermagneto View Post
Like you said, most of these robberies are "get in and out quickly" deals, so perhaps an additional lock on studio door might be in order for me, any impediment to slow them down in that regard, I can live with my Apple TV or iPod stolen, but not my synths or guitars or hard drives preamps etc......
Honestly, putting an extra lock is a good idea. You would probably need a security door to go with it though. (Metal door, metal frame) Because they kicked the kitchen door so hard it blasted the entire wooden frame apart while the door remained intact. Yeah, they didn't bother with any of the nice rack mounted gear. Or the expensive MesaBoogie or the Mackie speakers. Anything weighty is too much hassle.

Data loss is the painful thing. All kinds of templates, plug in presets, that I don't think I had backed up. mp3 collection and archives. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone like you to lose all your custom synth patches and such! I really need to look into a massive & consistent Cloud based backup system. Heck, most of us should!

For now I'm shutdown workwise. Replacement computer coming Monday or Tuesday. Limping along on an old PC tower doing email & scanning receipts for insurance in the meantime.

Happy New Year to All!
Sam
Old 31st December 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 
EofN's Avatar
I am not trying to split hairs.

The dictionary may be one thing, but there is a difference in law, and a robbery is a different crime, and is treated differently by the police and the justice system.

Unfortunately, people do often use the wrong terms and it causes confusion and misunderstanding, just like when people use the wrong words for anything else.

I work in a related field and I sometimes hear people say that they had a "home invasion" or "robbery" when it was really a burglary, which is a completely different crime, and a different level of seriousness.

Not to say that a burglary isn't serious, because it is, but not as "serious" as when someone kills you, rapes you or shoots you in the neck because you were home at the wrong time, which is what a "home invasion" or robbery means. If these terms are used to describe a burglary, then what words do you use to describe a robbery when someone is there and terrorizes you?

This is why it's good to know the difference.

Sorry again for being pedantic, I hate turtle neck sweaters too, but I want to put my neck out on this one.

Happy new year to you, may you recover from this tenfold!
Old 31st December 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
lestermagneto's Avatar
wow, i'm so sorry so much damage was incurred! Again, godbless nothing happened to you or your family.... You are right about trying to fortify said door, I try and keep backup drives of samples and presets etc at a friends house (large collection, limited cloud space)... but that is always a month or so behind the times for me. A friend of mine in London and I are setting up a simple p2p backup solution, he is in finance, and has lots of sensitive data that he doesn't trust to the cloud, but trusts me, and I trust him, so we just each got 2 5TB drives, that in theory will just backup our stuff across the pond...

again, so glad that noone was hurt, and I am really sorry about your ability to work being slowed to absolutely nothing... if there was anything I could do from my end I would!
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