Criminal charges are unlikely to work. First, you have to have stated the proper language in the Note so that the failure to surrender the equipment will result in criminal liability. And second, you have got to get a detective to agree that he/she has jurisdiction, and the matter is not merely civil.
If your ex-friend has a job and/or a bank account, your best bet is to sue. Once you have a judgment you can garnish his wages and his bank accounts.
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The promissory note should have the remedy in case of default. It would be a good idea to pursue that remedy civilly and then once you have a judgment in hand you can seek an order from the court disclosing the location of the equipment so that you may recover it. Failure to abide by that order could result in the other party being held in contempt.
As stated in the first answer, the best bet would probably be to start with your civil remedies and if the breaching party continues to evade their responsibility eventually criminal liability may be imposed.
Legal disclaimer: The answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.
You can do a replevin action which enables you to get an order from the Court directing a deputy sherif to seize the property. If the "friend" won't comply with the replevin order then he may be subject to civil contempt and potential arrest.
William Fife is an Attorney with Fife & Cesta, a compassionate firm conveniently located off the US 60 in Mesa, Arizona. The answers given here are based on the information in the question; for a complete answer you should have a consultation with an attorney you trust. Call now for a free bankruptcy consultation. We carefully evaluate your situation and give you real advice.