Can I sue a thief in Conciliation Court for the value of unrecovered property?

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2015

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Can I sue a thief in Conciliation Court for the value of unrecovered property?

A 15 year old broke into my car and stole some electronics, and only one of them was recovered by the police. The kid admitted to breaking into my car to the police but the charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal in a separate case against him (he’s a real winner). Would I have a case to get damages related to the unrecovered property?

Asked on February 19, 2015 under Personal Injury, Iowa


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can sue for conversion which is theft in a civil case.  Your civil case is separate from the criminal case in which the charges were dropped.

Your damages for conversion would be a forced sale which means the value of the stolen items.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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