Can I, as a business owner, enter a termed employee’s travel trailer being stored on the business lot without a written storage agreement to retrieve stolen goods from my shelves clearly visible through the window?

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Can I, as a business owner, enter a termed employee’s travel trailer being stored on the business lot without a written storage agreement to retrieve stolen goods from my shelves clearly visible through the window?

It is to retrieve stolen goods from my shelves clearly visible through the window.

Asked on February 16, 2019 under Business Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not. The trailer is still his property: even if you know your stolen property is there, you are not allowed to trespass in it, and if you do, *you* could be charged with breaking and entering.
Here is what you can do to get your items back (besides, of course, pressing charges for theft): you can seek an order to show cause on an "emergent" (think: "urgent" or "emergent") basis in county court allowing you to recover your items and authorizing law enforcement (e.g. the sheriff) to assist you in recovering these items. With a court order authorizing recovery, you can do this legally. Ideally, seek an attorney to assist; if it's not economically worth (given the items' value) doing this, you can do so on a "pro se" (as your own attorney) basis--go to the court clerk's office and explain that you want an order that someone return items of yours that you know are in his trailer.


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