How to File a Police Report For Stolen Property

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Have you just been ripped off? Few feelings are worse than the shock of discovering that something of yours has been stolen. Learn how to file an accurate police report that increases the chances of getting your stuff back and sends the law after the guilty party.

Step 1

Calling police after discovering robbery
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Act fast. Call your local police department or sheriff's office immediately. Be prepared to give the officer as many initial details as you can. For example, provide not only a description of exactly what was stolen, but also when, how and, if you know, who took the item. Write down the name of the officer you are speaking with and request that an officer to come out to speak with you.

Step 2

Police officer
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When the officer arrives, provide additional details that you may have remembered. If you have photographs of the stolen property, offer them to the investigating officer. Ask for your case number and write it down. Referring to this number in follow-up communications with law enforcement will save time and help ensure accuracy.

Step 3

Checking the mail
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Request a copy of your police report. There may be a small fee for this document and it could take a week to 10 days to receive by mail. When it arrives, check it over thoroughly for errors or omissions. Call the officer if you need to make any changes or add new information.

Step 4

Registering stolen property online
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Register your stolen property with an asset tracking service. Many of these services are free and you can access them quickly online. Also check online auction and classified ad sites. If your stuff turns up, alert law enforcement. Don't try to recover anything by yourself. These methods do work. According to, a man in Florida got his iPod back this way.

Step 5

Checking with police
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Periodically check in with law enforcement to find out if your property has been recovered. Inquire about any new additions to the property room.


  • Learn from the experience, even if it was a traumatic one. Take photographs and video of your valuables, write down detailed descriptions and store the information in a safe place.


About the Author

Mardi Link is a former police reporter, covering crime and law for five years. She has two true crime books, When Evil Came to Good Hart and Isadore's Secret (University of Michigan Press). Her articles appear in The Detroit Free Press, ForeWord, and TC Business News. She lives in northern Michigan.

Photo Credits

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