My former roommate took of all my belongings with him when he moved out of our house. I filed a claim with the police and they wouldn't do anything claiming it was a civil matter and I'd have to take him to court. My belongings are worth at least $5,000 and it's been a month and he's still refusing to return them, claiming I abandoned them, which I did not! So my question is what do I have to do to take him to court for the cost of my belongings, the cost of the gas to travel back to that city all these times to deal with this matter, the cost of thins I've had to replace in the mean time because they were things I NEEDED and he had, and for pain and suffering because my 4 year old has gone without all of his toys because he stole everything of ours.Also he claims he's going to file against me for back rent, although we only lived together for 1.5 months and had no lease or written agreement of any kind. I'm not worried about information on him filing against me, just thought it might be relevant to the matter.
You cannot get damages for pain and suffering, but you may be able to get triple damages, for conversion of the assets. I suspect this person is not expecting you will challenge him on this. Since the value of the suit is over $5k, you will need to file in district court instead of small claims court.
Best of luck to you!
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If this needs to be handled in civil court then, as previous counsel mentioned, you could sue for conversion. Conversion is the act of one person taking someone else's property in such a way that they deny the owner possession of it and use the property without legal authority to do so (paraphrasing). The beautiful thing about conversion, is that it allows you to collect triple damages. Under this scenario, the law would allow you to go after your former roommate not only for the value of the property, but potentially to be awareded 3 times the amount of the value.
If the property can be identified as yours and he knowingly took (stole) it, it is a crime and he can be made to return it to you either through the prosecutor's office or through civil litigation.
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