bottle thief charged

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BRIAN S.

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Bottle Thief Charged
Gigs up for theft of rare western flask
When a rare Ferguson Whiskey flask was stolen last April at the Golden Gate Historical Bottle Society show at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, collectors were left frustrated and dismayed. American Bottle Auctions had brought many of their rarest and most desirable bottles coming up for their spring auction for public display and soon after set-up, a rare coffin flask was missing. Collectors and dealers alike were left feeling that even a bottle show was now unsafe to present items for sale and for auction. That a person could just walk into a bottle show and steal something right off the table of unsuspecting victims left both the organizers of the show and participants with a feeling of dread.
Soon after the show, the same bottle (valued between $1,500-$2,000), right down to three very distinctive bubbles appeared on Ebay, a well-known international auction site. It wasn’t long before various people began calling American Bottle Auctions informing them of a very similar bottle to the one stolen in Vallejo being sold on Ebay. After contacting authorities in the Vallejo police department, the seller of the flask was contacted and within months police had a suspect. His picture was available online and soon his address and a profile of this would be thief became readily available and the Vallejo District Attorney’s office had a case.

After being interviewed and denying he’d taken anything, a Mr. Paul Wisnyi was under investigation and before police could make an arrest, Mr. Wisnyi disappeared. Not long after, police issued an arrest warrant and Wisnyi was captured, now awaiting an appearance before the Vallejo County judges.
The theft at bottle shows is not a new thing; bottles have been missing from shows for years. A couple years ago at a show in Lodi, American Bottle Auctions lost a rare M.R. Sacramento soda bottle, which was never recovered. This time was different as a number of individuals came forward and helped the police in uncovering evidence that helped them find the right person. According to the Vallejo police, they are not sure what consequences will occur regarding the thief but at least he’s been given a stern warning and hopefully this arrest will make other thieves think twice before taking other people’s property.​
This last weekend at the Auburn Bottle Show, a number of bottles were missing from tables so its apparent Wisnyi has company. When presenting bottles at a show, make sure you keep an eye on your bottles at all times. We even set up a camera connected to a computer that records any movement at our table. This was most likely enough to fend off any would be thieves and it might be something to think about. Needless to say, we didn’t lose a thing at Auburn. Cameras are available at any Radio Shack and for $30 you can plant it on your table with a sign that reads, “You are on camera.†We can all get rid of this distracting and selfish behavior by simply paying more attention to our tables and looking out for our neighbor’s table. All it takes is a little extra precaution.
 

GuntherHess

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putting it on Fleabay, what a dumb ass...

The table camera/warning stuff seems like a bad idea to me, goes against the whole friendly bottle show atmosphere. If i saw something like that on someones table I would walk right past it and not even look at thier stuff , as bad as putting a sign that says serious buyers only. Just watch your stuff , its not that difficult.
 

surfaceone

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According to the Vallejo police, they are not sure what consequences will occur regarding the thief but at least he’s been given a stern warning and hopefully this arrest will make other thieves think twice before taking other people’s property.

The thief should be out on bail, or in the hoosgow. Felony theft, or receiving stolen property, at least,. should be appropriately charged and adjudicated. Why is VPD unsure about this?
 

BittersMax

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ORIGINAL: GuntherHess

putting it on Fleabay, what a dumb ass...

The table camera/warning stuff seems like a bad idea to me, goes against the whole friendly bottle show atmosphere. If i saw something like that on someones table I would walk right past it and not even look at thier stuff , as bad as putting a sign that says serious buyers only. Just watch your stuff , its not that difficult.
Surveillance cameras are a great idea if you ask me. The problem has become so bad here on the West Coast it's an epidemic, something needs to be done. The business as usual mentality from many dealers in regard to being ripped off is getting old. Wake up here folks because next it may be your home being robbed by these guys. So is the answer then to never leave home just so you can watch your stuff, I think not. There's nothing "friendly" about a bottle shows "atmosphere" when you have dealers being constantly robbed of their merchandise. Just watching your stuff and closing your eyes to the problem does NOTHING to stop a thief.[/align]www.oldwestbottles.com[/align]
 

GuntherHess

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Sounds very sad out there. I'm sorry for you all.
If conditions were that bad here in the east i wouldnt even go to bottle shows.
 

annie44

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One of the things I remember from my first time at the Baltimore show was how almost all of the sellers encouraged me to take any bottle I was interested in outside to look at it in better light. I hate to think of that trusting attitude changing. However, I have to admit having heard about all of these thefts, I will be pretty cautious about someone I don't know taking one of my bottles away from the table. They're not high dollar bottles, but they're mine and I don't want to give them away for free! One good thing after you have been around for a few years is that you recognize people and they know you.....and the people that I do know are great and fair and honest!
 

surfaceone

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Hey Jane,

Great detective work! Vallejo PD needs you on the force. Way to research!
 

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