Overcome by Stupid - A Cautionary Tale

This is a discussion on Overcome by Stupid - A Cautionary Tale within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Last April, while wandering through the world's largest gun show , I noticed a used Springfield Armory full-sized 1911 for sale for what I thought ...

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Thread: Overcome by Stupid - A Cautionary Tale

  1. #1
    Member Array Wes Kenney's Avatar
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    Overcome by Stupid - A Cautionary Tale

    Last April, while wandering through the world's largest gun show, I noticed a used Springfield Armory full-sized 1911 for sale for what I thought was a pretty good price, $700. It had the beavertail grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safety, skeletonized hammer & trigger, and ramped sights. All in all, a pretty good carry gun, I thought, so I bought it. The selling dealer informed me it was from his personal collection, so there was no paperwork necessary (NOT A LOOPHOLE!), for which I was glad, as I had been walking for three hours or so and had only covered about a third of the tables in the room. I quickly contacted my favorite holster maker and purchased a new IWB holster and mag carrier, and was soon carrying this pistol every day. I was amazed how much lighter this setup was than my XD(M) .40, which with two magazines had me carrying almost a whole box of ammo.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was looking forward to attending a conference in Atlanta. I was flying from DFW International Airport, which is 150 miles from my home, so I booked a hotel near the airport for the night before my early morning flight. I had initially intended to check the pistol so as to have it with me during my time in gun-friendly Georgia, but when I checked the laws, I learned that gun-friendly Georgia prohibits carrying concealed weapons inside houses of worship, and since the conference I was attending was a preaching conference at the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, the majority of my time would be spent in a place I couldn't legally carry. So I determined that I would leave the pistol locked in my car in gun-friendly Texas. Now comes the stupid.

    Before I went to bed, I placed the holstered gun, along with the magazine carrier, inside the small safe in the closet in my hotel room. I awoke the next morning about twenty minutes later than I intended, and in my haste to get to the airport, I never even thought about the safe or its contents. See? Stupid. Really, REALLY stupid. I know.

    Fast forward two days to my return to gun-friendly Texas. The gun and its whereabouts never again entered my mind. I suppose I just assumed that I had followed my plan, and it would be waiting for me in the parking lot. I found my car, put my suitcase in, and unlocked and opened the glovebox, fully expecting to be greeted by my old friend from Geneseo. When it wasn't there, the realization of what I had done began to sink in. It was a terrible feeling, but little did I know that this adventure was only just beginning.

    I headed directly to the hotel, and the clerk who had checked me in three days earlier was on duty. I quietly explained that I thought I had left a firearm in the room, and he checked lost-and-found. Finding nothing, he went in to the back, and the manager came out after a few minutes. He explained that something like that wouldn't show up on their regular lost-and-found list, and that he was trying to reach the head of housekeeping, who was not in on this Saturday. It seemed to me to be taking a long time, and I had another errand to run before setting off on the three-hour drive home, so I told the manager about my errand, gave him my cell number, and told him I would be back soon.

    When I came back to the hotel, I only had to wait a few minutes to figure out that the manager wasn't trying to reach the head of housekeeping, but the Irving Police Department, who greeted me in the person of the very friendly and professional Officer Behrends. He asked if he could speak with me, and I began telling him what had happened. I knew something was amiss when he politely asked me to remove my hands from my pockets, and my sense that something was wrong was strongly reinforced when Officer Behrends invited me into the hotel office, where he had me place my hands on the back of my head and treated me to a very thorough frisking.

    As it turned out, the hotel staff had found the result of my extreme stupidity not long after I checked out, and very properly notified the authorities. Those authorities, the Irving Police Department, very properly did a NCIC check on the handgun's serial number, and quickly learned that my 1911 had been stolen in Tennessee some years before. This explains Officer Behrends's caution when talking to me, as well as his desire to assure himself that I had nothing on my person with which I might cause him harm. Once he was so assured, we sat down for a nice visit, in which I laid out all of the above.

    Either I was very convincing, or Officer Behrends is the trusting sort, or some combination of the two. Whatever the case, he found my story to be believable, and after recording my contact information, he bid me good day. I've since gotten to know (by phone) Det. Hammond of the IPD, to whom I've provided a copy of the check with which I paid for the firearm in question. I think it goes without saying that I'll never see it again. I also provided the detective with documentation proving myself to be the lawful owner of the leather in which the pistol and magazines were holstered, and I look forward to their return sometime next week, once the pistol has been sent to investigating detectives in Tennessee. I expect to be hearing from those folks at some point.

    So what have I learned? Well, the obvious lessons, I suppose. First, it's a really bad idea to leave a weapon in a hotel room when you check out. I'd have agreed wholeheartedly with that statement before this experience, but now I truly own the truth of it.

    Second, when buying a used firearm from someone you don't know, it's a really good idea to contact a friendly LEO and ask them to check out that serial number for you. Why I didn't do this is beyond me, since I was shopping that day at the world's largest gun show with my dad, who serves the sheriff of his county as a deputy and who could have accomplished said check with a two-minute phone call. For my part, I've determined that I shall henceforth purchase only new firearms from dealers. Eliminates the possibility of this sort of thing happening again.

    Finally, I've learned to appreciate the good folks at the Irving Police Department. I can't fault them for a single thing in this, and I'm reminded that they're often put in difficult and dangerous situations, and want nothing more than to handle them properly and go home to their families at the end of the day.

    I confessed my stupidity in the title here, and multiple times in the body of the post, so please be gentle in chiding me further for it. I've learned from this experience, and post it here in the hopes that others may learn from it as well.
    He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one."

    - Luke 22:36 (ESV)

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array deafdave3's Avatar
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    You can check it yourself at www.stolenweapon.com
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    Member Array Wes Kenney's Avatar
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    Thanks for that info. As I said in my post, I won't be needing it, as I only plan on purchasing firearms new from dealers in the future, but someone else may find it helpful.
    He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one."

    - Luke 22:36 (ESV)

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    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    I always run my guns through NCIC when buying used, I have friends in MCSD who run it for me, and I know the complete history that has been recorded of the gun
    "The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."

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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your story. It helps everyone.
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    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the story. One question: why would you lock up your holstered gun in the hotel safe while you were in the room? I have locked up my gun when I was not in the room, but felt if I needed a gun in a hotel room, it would be while I was in it - sleeping or otherwise.

    When I have a pistol with me in a hotel room, I leave it out on the desk or table. (I don't like keeping it right next to the bed as I tend to dream quite a bit, and don't want to be overly quick to grab a loaded firearm off the night stand.) It's harder to forget that way.

  8. #7
    Member Array Wes Kenney's Avatar
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    That's a good question, and in retrospect, it's obviously what I should have done. I put it in the safe when I went downstairs to eat, because the hotel bar was all that was open, and I didn't want to take it in there. When I returned to the room, I just never took it out again.
    He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one."

    - Luke 22:36 (ESV)

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    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    The guy that sold you the gun said it came from his private collection. LOL Yeah I bet. Wonder how he collected them? Of course he could have not known it was stolen himself.

    I also wonder why while you were in the hotel room did you not have your gun next to the bed or on the table, etc. You would not have forgotten it. But then you still to this day would not know it was stolen and you'd still be in possession of a stolen firearm. Not good.

    Good thing I guess that it was found out and you didn't get into trouble for it. Although the hotel manager shouldn't have called the cops about the gun found in the room. He should have tried to contact you.
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I won't chide you, as you recognize the gravity of your situation.

    I did something similar once, only I took the guns but thought I had left them. Frantic phone calls and not until a though search of my luggage was completed was I rewarded with their continued companionship. As for buying Used, I do it all the time. Your gun could've been stolen and later returned to it's rightful owner. The "system" is real good at putting stolen guns in the pipeline, but not so good at removing returned property from said pipeline.

    It doesn't matter if you buy New or Used, just keep good records.

    Biker

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    VIP Member Array Brass63's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your story. Feel bad for your loss...but it's a cautionary tale for all of us.
    Great reminders to know what you're buying...and as Biker noted...the importance of keeping all your records.
    Now, you have a good excuse to go shopping for another 1911 to fill your soon-to-be-returned holster.
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  12. #11
    Member Array Wes Kenney's Avatar
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    Already replaced, though I am going to need a new holster, since this one's only a 4" barrell:
    He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one."

    - Luke 22:36 (ESV)

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    Just FYI - if you are in Florida, you can check a serial number here: http://pas.fdle.state.fl.us/pas/item/displayGunSearch.a

    Only works for guns reported to a Florida law enforcement agency, though. I am not aware of any public portal to NCIC, but IIRC that is expressly forbidden anyway.

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    New Member Array stolenweapon's Avatar
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    Hello,
    just wanted to stop in and thank deafdave3 for the post.

    Best Regards,
    StolenWeapon.com Team

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    Member Array mattdillon's Avatar
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    Good post. As a fairly new gun owner I am learning every day. I saw an episode on Personal Defense TV where the guy placed his gun in his shoes at the side of his bed along with his cell phone. What else I thought was good to know is he untucked the sheets and covers at the foot of the bed so he could have quick reaction time if he had to get out of bed.
    Checking the SN on an used gun is good advice and may I suggest making a copy of the seller's DL. Needless to say, keeping good records is great advice. Again, thanks for posting.
    Last edited by mattdillon; September 24th, 2010 at 07:22 PM.
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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    I assume that since you had the check that you used to purchase the gun, the police will be able to locate the "dealer" that you purchased it from. It will be interesting to see if they can prove he stole the gun to begin with. Also, I was wondering, do you have an recourse as far as recovering the money you are out? Would homeowners insurance cover the loss? Perhaps you could sue the dealer for the money? Have you decided on a course of action?

    On a side note, my EDC was "purchased" from my wife, (then fiancée’s) fathers estate. She was the executor so she sold it to me to transfer the ownership to me. I do not think I have any paper work for the transfer however. I wonder if it’s possible to get a copy from the Sheriff’s department.

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