Dropping Of Charges Frustrates Victim A Second Time

A Sarpy County man loses thousands of dollars in a break-in, then loses his faith in the justice system.

“That's my rims and tires.” Expensive rims that were stolen from a locked storage unit and theft victim Matt Schoville says the thieves weren’t exactly neat about it. “When they went through our unit, ransacked it and trashed our items.”

That spurred Matt into becoming an Internet vigilante, going to Craigslist and finding his wheels and tires and then going to an Omaha house to check them out. Sure enough, they were his. Matt called police, who arrested the seller.

“We caught him. I asked the guy, how long you owned these items and he said a year. I said what did they come off of and he said, I don't know.”

But when time came for the suspect to face justice, the charges were dropped. “Part of the case that's somewhat difficult, we have to show the person knew or should have known this property they had in their possession was stolen and didn't come from a legitimate source,” says Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.

Some items stolen from Matt have been returned, but holding an evidence tag isn't enough for this crime victim seeking justice. “I go to work every day and work hard and this guy can steal my stuff at night and he gets away with it just because he said he's just selling it.”

Prosecutors still need to prove the seller knew the items up for sale were stolen. “We're frustrated too, we want to get the people who are acting as a conduit for people who steal property,” says Kleine.

Matt hopes it’s not case closed. Kleine tells Fact Finders the case isn't closed yet. Investigators are looking at other leads that involve the possible sale of stolen items on the Internet.

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