Who doesn’t love a good deal?!  We all do, right?  But remember, if it “sounds too good to be true”, it probably is!

Consider your options before parting with your hard-earned money or trade.

  • Know the seller. Is this someone you know well and trust?  Or are they randomly approaching you with items to sell?  If it is a random approach, we strongly recommend that you do not buy the item and that you call the police to report this suspicious behaviour.  Tell the police, who the person is and what they are trying to sell.  These reports help police recover stolen items.
  • Ask. Is this item yours to sell?  Is it stolen or something you found?  BUT don’t just take their word.  Generally, people don’t want to be seen as insulting others, so they don’t ask.  Asking doesn’t mean you will get a truthful answer, but it will give you a better sense of the situation.  Trust your instincts.
  • Ask, again. Do they have proof of ownership (receipt, record of purchase, ownership slip)? Can they tell you where they bought it, how long they have had it, what condition or functionality issues it has?
  • Look. Check the item for identifying markers.  If they are there, are they correctly linked to the person?
  • Check. Do they have the proper attachments, cords, remotes, locks, keys, cases, passwords etc.?
  • Check, again. Verify that the person who is attempting to sell you something is the actual owner.  If they say they are selling for someone else – call that person and go through all the above suggestions.  Take a moment, contact your local police service to ask if there have been any reports of stolen items matching the description of what you are considering buying.


  • Item is priced way below what you know it to be worth, even used! They do not know or care to negotiate a deal based on the real value of the item.
  • They are not interested in engaging in conversation about selling the item – they want a quick exchange. Once they have your money, they will be long gone.
  • The person selling the item drops the price even more – and seems anxious to get rid of it.
  • The seller doesn’t have answers to your questions about the item.
  • They only have the main piece – a TV with no remote, a gaming console with no cords, a tool with no case.
  • They randomly approach you – they don’t know you well but still think to ask if you want to buy something they have.
  • They try to or appear to be concealing the item when showing you – keeping it stashed away.
  • They are secretive about having the item. They don’t publicly advertise items for sale.
  • There seems to be some unexplained urgency to get rid of it.


There are two answers for this – there is a difference between an honest mistake and dirty deals!

  • NO! If you suspect or are worried that you bought something that may be stolen, call the police. Officers will help you figure it out.  If an item does come up as stolen, the item will be seized, and you will be asked to provide information around the circumstances of how you came to have the property.

Keep in mind, you are not in trouble, but you are now out however much money you paid.  The thief is not going to return your money.  Reporting is still the right thing to do.

  • YES! If you suspect or now know you purchased stolen property and you go out of your way to conceal your purchase and/or refuse to return the property, you can be charged with an offence.

Theft is not a victimless crime. It is never a good idea to buy stolen property. 

Buying stolen property contributes to the cycle that keeps thieves in business.

Break the cycle…when someone tries to sell you something that you suspect is stolen:

  • Don’t buy it.
  • AND call the police.


Generally, most people think of themselves as a good person.  Sometimes, good people do bad things….do a self-check up and see if any of these apply to you.  If they do you might want to think about how you would like others to handle these situations if you were the one having your property stolen.

  • You knowingly buy stolen property – just because you don’t personally know who it was stolen from, or that it is from out of town – doesn’t make it right.
  • Whether you buy the item or not – you don’t report it to the police.  Not reporting allows the thefts to continue and makes it less likely that the property will be returned to the rightful owner.
  • Mixed messages about right and wrong – tell kids its wrong to steal but they see the same adults buy stolen property.
  • It’s someone you know and care about so you don’t report.  You think “I don’t want to get them in trouble” – fact is by not reporting, it allows the behaviour to continue and get worse – and the person stealing is the one getting themselves in trouble.
  • You know people who buy & don’t report it.  This allows the crime cycle to continue.

Don’t be this person!

For more information or to join Neighbourhood Watch call us!