In the past two months I have heard of two court reporters having their gear stolen from their vehicle. One reporter had just reported a deposition with a witness who was flown in from a foreign country pursuant to a court order. He testified for three hours. The reporter packed up her gear, left the office complex garage, drove to a gas station to fill up her tank. As she was pumping gas, a car drove up, a man jumped out, opened her back door, and stole her laptop, steno machine, and depo bag. It was fast! The court reporter yelled, “Stop,” but the thief jumped back into the car and drove off. The reporter had her cell phone in her hand and took a picture of the driver’s license of the get-away car.
She called the police. They asked her to go to a city website and fill out a report and attach any document/photos she wished to attach. Bottom line, the job was gone.
I had to call the attorneys and let them know. This is what they wanted from the court reporter:
- Time/location of theft.
- Police report. Even if the police don’t want to come out and write up a report, insist that you have the chance to file a report with the police and keep any information about the report number, locale, et cetera. Our clients wanted to follow up and have documentation to prove to the judge the deposition was gone.
- Photograph of license plate. Our clients decided to hire a private detective to go after the thieves. Obviously, it might be rare to have the photograph, but any identification of the car, license plate, and thieves would be helpful.
The reporter’s laptop and exhibits, deposition bag probably will never be found again, but few people know what to do with a steno machine. The reporter called the local pawn shops and asked them to let her know if a steno machine, green Luminex, was turned in or someone was trying to pawn a machine.]
I did some research regarding thefts at gas stations, and there is a new kind of thief called a “slider.” The thieves wait for the person to get out of their car to pump gas, before “sliding” into the car. Crouched over, the thief opens the passenger door, steals whatever is there, and slides back out many times with the driver not even noticing.
It is sad that we need to be paranoid for our belongings, but it is better to be aware of what is going on and protect our gear.