Thieves fence stolen items on Internet; victims feel helpless

DES MOINES, Wash. -- It is a devastating crime that happens every single day.

Someone is robbed or burglarized; computers, cameras, jewelry and memories are taken by thieves who don't seem to care the heartache they cause.

Then they have the nerve to try to sell the stuff on Craigslist or eBay.

"I contacted Q13 through the TIPS email because I was frustrated,” Donald Parker said Wednesday.

Parker isn't a victim, but his sister was.

Her home was burglarized, and the stolen items ended up on eBay.

"I found her camera lens on eBay and her pair of aviation headsets that were stolen and they were on eBay and the next day her MacBook that was stolen was on eBay,” Parker said.

Plus, two guns were stolen as well.

Parker, who contacted police, says he actually saw the serial number on the computer.

Even though detectives were working the case, he and his sister watched it all go away.

"We watched the lens sell. As far as we know it's been sold and shipped.  We watched the headset sell.  The MacBook -- they ended that listing, so we don't know what happened to that,” Parker said.

"It’s very common for people to feel frustrated sometimes; they feel like the police can’t do enough to find their items,” said retired police detective Myrle Carner, who is now with Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound.

He says victims have to be patient no matter how hard it might be.

"Get the information, and then you make the call to the investigation, or the police department or the investigator handling it in the case, (say) here’s what I’ve done, I’ve made contact, those are my items, now it’s your business, what should we do? Normally the cops will then investigate that, do the followup and take care of it,” Carner said.

But no matter what, Carner says, never put yourself at risk.

"Most important factor in this case is, do not go out and try and confront an individual that you feel may be responsible for the theft. In my police experience, I’ve seen a lot of things happen,” Carner said.

And few of them are good.

Parker and his sister left it to police and fear they will never get their stuff back.

And it's OK, he says, because it has to be.

"She's already filed for insurance and gotten some replacements but I'd like to see these people pay for their crimes and have justice served,” Parker said.