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Tools mean a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, they’re just things. But to others they’re priceless heirlooms that carry memories of owners past. Or a favorite work buddy that’s been along for the ride through tough times and good. To some, though, they’re simply stuff one has to have to do one’s job. When you steal tools from a professional, you might just be stealing that person’s ability to make a living.

I stumbled across this article about a Russian man named Ilya who legally immigrated and then struck out for the American dream in a way I think we can all respect: He got a job working construction, and he busted his ass doing it — at least until some dickhead came along and stole $3k worth of stuff, including the nail guns, saws, and drills he depended on for his livelihood. Thinking he was screwed, he headed home, only to be greeted by his mother who’d found the tools already listed on Craigslist.

From the KVAL website:

 Playing the part of a paying customer, Ilya set up a time and place to buy the goods in the Tacoma Mall parking lot Thursday night. When he confirmed the items were his, he told the sellers to wait while he got more cash at an ATM. Instead he went and got police officers, who returned with him to make the arrest.

“Basically he had to gather his sergeant and everybody,” Ilya said, “and they went down there and basically busted them and had me come ID all of my tools.”

This reminds me of a story Sean tells about a guy running into a little working-man’s grocery store about half way between our office and his house. The guy runs in, and a kid promptly runs up to swipe the tools in the truck bed. Before he can get even one out, the doors open on a pickup a few parking spaces over and two big dudes walk over and confront him. The kid flees. Sean walks by on his way into the store and asks the guys what’s up. It turns out they don’t know either the thief or the owner. They just took care of business.

These stories don’t always have happy endings, though. Had someone else hit those guys up on Craigslist first, Ilya would be outta luck. C’mon folks. Think twice before stealing tools.

Anyway, this story’s a bit old, but I thought it was worth sharing nonetheless. Check out the video if you want to know more about Ilya and his tool-recovery gig.

Stolen Tools: Construction Worker Gets Revenge And Justice [KVAL]


13 Responses to Contractor Recovers His Stolen Tools — Via Craigslist

  1. Rico says:

    Uh, just don’t steal from people. It’s not about tools, nor work, or anything like that. Just don’t steal from people.

  2. ThatOneGuy says:

    Why people think they have the right to other peoples’ property is beyond me… Thats why I’m a fan of the death penalty for thieves. Two things I hate most in this world: thieves and liars. The world would be a much better place without them.

  3. PutnamEco says:

    People who would steal someones livelihood are pretty low. Glad he got his tools back, hard enough to make a living these day even without your tools walking off. While I think the death penalty for thieves might be a little harsh, they should have to reimburse him for his time lost x 2 for the aggravation.

  4. Ben says:

    i left these hedge clippers on our lawn once and my dad told me to go get them later in the day and they were gone. i had to tell him and he said something like “you must take care of your tools and be responsible” then he pulled the clippers out and gave them to me.

  5. Blair says:

    Any theft is wrong period, but stealing the tools someone uses to make their living is beyond despicable. I tend to be like the guys in the story that Sean related, protective of not only my tools, but those belonging to others as well, and I have no hesitation about confronting potential thieves.

  6. fred says:

    Thieves are deserve harsh punishment – but so do folks who buy stolen goods – and by that I mean both the middlemen who convey the goods or broker the deals and those who ultimately buy them.

  7. Toolfreak says:

    That thief is pretty lucky he stole from the kind of guy who would go get the police and get his tools back by the book. Plenty of other people would have taken care of their business in quite a different manner.

    You’re asking for it if you steal, but stealing directly from a person and then trying to sell the stuff is just plain stupid. One of these days a few “craigslist killer” stories are going to have potential thieves asking themselves if it’s worth putting their lives on the line to make a few bucks.

    Just get a job or two, seesh.

  8. Squidwelder says:

    That’s messed up. Unfortunately, I’m too familiar with the act. When we hit the shipyards, things constantly go missing. My shop actually instituted a tool control program, though it met with little success… until we left the shipyard and contractors weren’t on board constantly. I understand the need for tools is there and things are expensive, but for crying out loud, knock it off. Stealing isn’t cool. Especially not right out of someone’s shop, navy or not.

  9. craig says:

    thought i’d relate an upside to the obvious downside of larceny.

    a series of power surges during a recent storm lunched our tv. we bought a new one. boxed the old, put it in the bed of my truck to take to the recycle center. a little red car with two robust occupants liberated the tv (at high noon) and we no longer have to pay the recycling charges.

  10. Oldhart says:

    There’s a reason the old timers enacted such brutal punishment (like hanging) against “mere” thieves. A thief steals a whole lot more than whatever it is he makes off with. He also destroys culture and civilization itself.

    That’s especially terrible in times and locations lacking the surpluses in goods and foodstuffs we take for granted today as well as the “fair and equitable” distribution system (e.g. food stamps, public housing, and welfare payments).

    A thief in the workplace steals the credibility of all the other workers and the trust of the employer as well.

    Even today, thieves should be severely punished, if not executed. Ooops! We’d need to be fair about that and include Goodman Sachs et al.

  11. Jamie says:

    Is nice to know this story ended well. Stealing is a low thing to do, stealing somebody’s livelihood is even lower. Good on that construction guy Ilya!

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