Will soon post a strange and true story here .

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭

Doing it here because:

1) This forum has several smart folks who may have a useful insight to a difficult dilemma.

2) I really can't believe how rude millenials often are. I'll post a link to the rudest discussion you have likely ever seen.

3) Sorry about doing this. I'm kind of a hermit and have limited options.

4) The outcome is important. I could still lose a Florida house.

First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭

    The following is pasted from a larger post that I made on a prepping forum. Nobody has responded - it is Saturday for one thing.

    A couple days ago I discovered that my "buried" lifetime savings was stolen at some point in the past four years. The police department has not responded to date - possibly due to a "statute of limitations". If the police department doesn't make a file I don't think insurance will do much at all.


    The "burial" was behind the railroad ties of a very secure root cellar. Only an archaeologist could have found it. I figure my contractor watched me hide it. I thought he was far away. Then he showed up a few seconds after hiding it. He seemed excited. He had worked on the root cellar and knew everything. Plus the dogs trusted him since he was there so much.


    A short time later I found that all of my double AA batteries were stolen. There were a lot due to being a prepper. I didn't call the police about missing AA batteries. Thought it was odd that someone would ignore guns and steal a couple hundred AA batteries. There were also a couple security system intrusion alarms given by the motion detectors. The police decided they were "false alarms" due to the dogs. It takes them awhile to get here.


    Putting 2 + 2 together - this is likely what happened. The contractor seen me hiding the coins and left for a few seconds. Making me think he didn't see it though it was unnervingly close. I had trusted him since he always took a day off for church and talked a "very good game". The contractor returned, with some help, when he knew I was out of town. He knew exactly how to get to the coins and where they were.


    He knew how to get to the coins since I had paid him to work on the area. I am too large to fit myself. Accessing the coins was not difficult for him since he had worked on the area and knew where they were.


    There is almost no way that he still has anything. He enjoyed drugs for one thing. Plus money is hard to hang unto. Which I why I "buried" half of my lifetime savings. It was for that "perfect storm" that seems to wind itself into so many lives. I am in that "perfect storm" after Hurricane Irma severely damaged an uninsured home in S. Florida. I was uninsured because annual insurance demands were for 10% of the purchase price. Between high property taxes, mgmt. fees and unbelievably high mtce., I'd have made nothing at all. Which was often the case anyway. S. Florida is tough due to crime, vandalism, deadbeats, termites, roaches, rats, septic systems, air conditioners, the rainy season, and hurricanes.


    I immediately made a thread on a gold forum and was treated unbelievably harshly. Unbelievably - I can link that thread if someone wants to see how rude the internet can be. The sheriff said he would call me back and has not. I called his number yesterday and had to leave a message.


    It might sound foolish at first glance but I had seven lines of defense. The burglary was impossible unless someone knew almost everything and the dogs trusted him. Good fence, two aggressive guard dogs, security system with cameras, Medeco locks on exterior doors, two high security locks with a steel security door on the root cellar, behind another very difficult hatch and railroad ties. It was simply impossible unless someone knew everything. 


    I did discover a window with an open latch at the time of the alarms. I either missed the latch or he opened the latch when my back was turned. I pointed this out to the sheriff who was quite angry about "false alarms". 


    I have not told absolutely everything because it would give too much information to any low life reading this thread.


    Lee County in S Florida decided to destroy my rental home while I experienced difficulty with evicting a twice evicted tenant. They gave me two months to fix a great deal of damage. The tenant had purposely left part of the roof completely exposed while my property manager quit after he threatened her with a lawsuit. He was constantly threatening everyone it seemed. I have been very aggressive in saving my home now that the problematic tenant is gone. The house remains under a microscope though. They are making things very difficult. Money allows one to represent themselves. Now I am down a great deal. Insurance isn't looking too promising right now.


    I always told my agent that theft was the rational for buying insurance. I have great confidence in the ability of this structure to handle almost anything. It is overbuilt beyond belief. I always opted for the stoutest materials and a lot of them. Now my agent has recently left State Farm - he was my agent for over a decade. This is another perfect storm. 


    Hoping I have a few confidants here. The internet tends to be brutal otherwise.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭

    This was my first effort to figure things out. I still can hardly believe how rude many millenials would seem to be: https://old.reddit.com/r/Gold/comments/b92wby/contractor_stole_my_gold/

    I had seven layers of defense. Should have been close to bullet proof. Unless the contractor seen me do it of course. That is where I seem to have screwed up.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • TecnodaveTecnodave Registered Users Posts: 418 ✭✭✭✭

    So sorry to hear of your woes.....leaves you not knowing who to trust

    2 Classic 150, 2 Kid, 5 arrays 7.5 kw total  2ea.  2S6P Sharp NE-170/NE-165, 1ea. 12P Sanyo HIT 200,  2ea. 4/6P Sanyo HIT 200, MagnaSine MS4024AE, Exeltech XP-1100,  2 Banks L-16 battery, Rolls-Surette S-530 and Interstate Traction, Shunts with whizbangJr and Bogart Tri-Metric, iCharger i208B  dc-dc buck/boost converter with BMS for small form lithium 8S 16650 or LiFePO4,
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭

    A high school friend retired from the police force and advised against trusting anybody. The huge mistake was believing the contractor was gone for several minutes. I can't remember why he returned so early. Thought he had missed the event by a few seconds. I believe he saw it, backtracked a bit, then showed up. I distinctly remember him acting excited. Which, looking back at it, should have been a clue.

    He still couldn't access through the root cellar. Thick steel security door and two very high grade locks. Plus nothing was stolen from the root cellar itself. There was another access however. The area that I had paid him to work on.

    My 10" water cooled tile saw with Pearl Abrasives blade also turned up missing. Both he and his father are tile layers. Another coincidence. Now that I think about it - a 25 pound box of high quality 2 1/2" screws also disappeared around that time. It would be very interesting to look at the screws he used on a close by home he recently worked on.

    The guy can't hang unto anything. I gave him a DeWalt battery tool set to help get him back on his feet. He sold it and bought a cheap Ryobi set. Ryobi is fine for amateurs by the way. I believe he has a pretty serious drug problem - the trades are plagued by substance abuse.

    He has had very bad luck - which he has contributed to. He was the construction foreman when a brace failed and killed one worker and paralyzed another. He and his crew had built the brace. It ruined his life for all practical purposes. Part of me still feels sorry for him while other parts want justice and another recognizes his simply horrible judgment. One had to watch him or he would start working against you. He is not a "bad guy" . I think the problems are more substance abuse, poverty, and simply horrible judgment.

    He may have tipped off someone else as well. There are plenty of "bad actors" around here.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    edited April 2019 #6

    I too am very sorry to hear what happened.

    Many companies (and governments) have relied on security by obscurity.

    It is not a long term security solution and can be readily breached by somebody with a little knowledge and time.

    And today, there are local police offices that will not even take a report or forward to prosecutors even if you have video and employment forms with Id.

    Have a friend that got a hit and run on his truck in Nevada. Good samaritan saw and wrote down license number and description of offender, who left note on his truck "sorry I hit your truck" (no id).

    Came out a bit later, got the info from the witness, called the local cops/sheriff.

    They got the guy in jail (for days , at least) within the hour on felony hit and run, insurance fraud etc. Don't know when (or even if) he made bail.

    Cops told him they do not joke around with offenders in Nevada.

    Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • TecnodaveTecnodave Registered Users Posts: 418 ✭✭✭✭

    They do have real police in Nevada, sadly here in California we have police.....if you are connected

    2 Classic 150, 2 Kid, 5 arrays 7.5 kw total  2ea.  2S6P Sharp NE-170/NE-165, 1ea. 12P Sanyo HIT 200,  2ea. 4/6P Sanyo HIT 200, MagnaSine MS4024AE, Exeltech XP-1100,  2 Banks L-16 battery, Rolls-Surette S-530 and Interstate Traction, Shunts with whizbangJr and Bogart Tri-Metric, iCharger i208B  dc-dc buck/boost converter with BMS for small form lithium 8S 16650 or LiFePO4,
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,029 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Before you delete it, I too am sorry to hear this.

    Our county in California is very law and order. A sheriff many years/terms ago said off record that if a man shot his dog he would shoot back. He warned the people in the room if you shoot someone I am going to have to arrest you. If there is no body found and it is buried deep there is no issue with me.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭

    I deleted a comment regarding the current state of policing in noted areas. Some areas really don't seem to care about crime anymore.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm inclined to agree the proceeds are likely long gone up the contractors nose (or other oriface of choice), and there's probably little you or the cops can do about it at this point.

    Still, assuming there's more than a few $100's worth involved, I'd probably want to make good and sure they aren't there somewhere. Maybe an inspection camera that can go where you can't? I've had squirrels do "interesting" things to get nesting material, and a cozy cloth bag might make a tempting target.

    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭

    I considered the possibility of dirt falling on it. Used a metal detector and did a great deal of digging after finding that my shoulders fit through the hole. I have no squirrels - never had one. Not a single tree on the property. The bag was heavy. Going from memory but I think the purchase price was at least $150,000. Bought from my parents estate - the contents of their safety deposit box - the largest at the bank. Nobody else wanted a share. I've always liked precious metals. Dad always said "don't buy any, you'll get mine". Then he died without a will and I had to buy it from the estate.

    If you have kids - do a will. The mess is incomprehensible otherwise. Many families never talk again. Many.


    Most people think small. My parents did pretty well. I haven't made real money in years but I own a lot. A lot. Four modest homes and a "shack" for starts. Which becomes a huge liability at times. My credit cards are about maxed out ($30,000) with many looming expenses - about $30,000 more for rental home repairs after bad tenants and a big hurricane. Already spent about $25,000 - mostly on credit cards. The situation is pretty bad.

    On a more positive note - a tenant just returned my message offering to sell. But she may have no savings for a down payment. Pays $1000/mt to date.

    I had this stashed away for the perfect storm. The storm arrived and it is gone. I have no idea why I don't feel depressed right now. Last time I suffered a huge burglary I spent a year staring into space. That was the Denver home.

    If you live in two places, crime becomes a problem of magnitudes more. People will know you are gone for days at a time.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin

    Yes, a will really helps (at least in the USA---Different countries, different rules).

    However, I would highly suggest a Living Trust instead. It works very well if you are married (surviving spouse can alway change/update) and it can save money on taxes (old rules were less than $1 million tax free transfers, new rules are something like ~$13 million per parent). The Living Trust basically keeps both people alive until the second spouse dies (2x exemptions, instead of 1x for surviving spouse to children--Should also help with states that have "death taxes").

    Other things that help... Living Trusts are private. Wills are public and must be filed upon death. And take can 1+ years to resolve.

    Also (at least in California), lawyer costs for probate are based on the value of the estate (percentage of the value of the property--Rates are less on higher tiered levels).

    Living Trusts are just attorney fees (at the time the trust is written). And some minor filing costs (you put "Smith Family Trust as the second or third "owner" on your deeds). And put the "Smith family trust" on your bank accounts (ideally, anything over $10,000 in accounts). There is a "pour over will" that just says anything not in the trust is moved into the trust (makes things a bit easier if somethign was forgotten).

    Assuming there are no big fights by family members over the Living Trust, the trustee (listed in Living Trust) simply starts writing checks, selling property, transferring property because the trust is "an owner" of the property/accounts, the trustee(s) are already named in the paperwork.

    About the only drawbacks I have seen--You have to pay the attorney upfront for Living Trust (and any updates)--But fees are usually much less than Probate. And, I have run into some problems with random banks--The "Smith Family Trust" does not exist until both spouses have died--But a few banks move your accounts into the "trust" ownership--And it sometimes is a bit of a pain (one bank would not allow online-banking for "trusts").

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • TecnodaveTecnodave Registered Users Posts: 418 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2019 #13

    Dave Angelini,

    where I am from people didn't waste the bullet, they threw turkeys in the glacier, they will reappear in about 300 years

    2 Classic 150, 2 Kid, 5 arrays 7.5 kw total  2ea.  2S6P Sharp NE-170/NE-165, 1ea. 12P Sanyo HIT 200,  2ea. 4/6P Sanyo HIT 200, MagnaSine MS4024AE, Exeltech XP-1100,  2 Banks L-16 battery, Rolls-Surette S-530 and Interstate Traction, Shunts with whizbangJr and Bogart Tri-Metric, iCharger i208B  dc-dc buck/boost converter with BMS for small form lithium 8S 16650 or LiFePO4,
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2019 #14

    I'd quickly estimate yearly losses from theft and vandalism at about $30.000 since folks passed. Jealousy and "opportunity" drives much human behavior.

    Now I am considering that my neighbor suddenly had a beautiful and huge greenhouse built around the likely time of the theft. Worth multiples more than the small camper he lived in. He also fed my dogs so much steak that they would dash over to his property when released.

    Sadly - the majority of dogs can be corrupted by steaks.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,274 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @softdown Understandably this is really bothering you, just don't beat yourself up in the process, mental stress is a silent killer. There's not much anyone can really offer beyond consolation and empathy, pondering the endless possibilities on who done it, will however cause more harm than good.

    Reaching out to others on random forums can result negative responses, as you are well aware, it is a very unfortunate experience which only the victim can truly feel, I understand that, but for the sake of personal health it's something better to let go. Worring won't change the ultimate outcome, which hopefully will be positive, but not something to build hope on.

    Yes it's easier said than done, but better done than said, I've experienced the loss of everything on several occasions, due to political changes, war and theft, but those were when I was much younger, it would be more difficult now. Thankfully I do have citizenship of two nations with a social system as a last resort, hopefully I'll never have to cash in on that due to careful financial planning. Living in Thailand is unpredictable, politically speaking, it's possible I could lose everything again, but I'm no stranger so it wouldn't impact me too much, should change come.

    Stay positive and don't dwell on the negative, is the best advice I can offer.

    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,029 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bill,

    In California and some other states, there is an easier way than a trust to pass it on that may help some folks.

    For people with an IRA or 401K the beneficiaries are dispersed automatically. For the house, a TOD or revocable transfer on death deed can be filed with the county for $20. There is no probate and it is thing lawyers hate most. A large estate of properties would not work but it is an easy way for a simple estate. Offgrid properties most always have trouble selling and so it is an easy solution for them also.

    There also are at least 3 companies that sell do it yourself trusts specific for each state.

    Softdown take a 30 minute walk every day, you might find gold😏

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin

    Thank you Dave, that is cool. Here is a quick link that searches for California TODs:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=california+tod+transfer+on+death+revokable+trust&atb=v122-1__&ia=web

    And, what appears to be, a good summary on this new (January 2016) option:

    http://canhr.org/factsheets/medi-cal_fs/PDFs/FS_TOD_NeedToKnow.pdf

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,029 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice ! My last on this is every year there are Lawyers staying up late try to stop this kink (for them) in the law.

    I would not wait too long😡

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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