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Author Topic: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced  (Read 34229 times)

David Kulka

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In April 2010 I posted a thread on Whatever Works announcing the theft of equipment and parts from my shop. Charges were filed and recently, criminal and civil trials were concluded. I'd like to let people know what happened, see if other victims would like to chime in, and pass on some hard learned lessons.

The person who stole from my shop is David John Hinson. David is an audio technician, originally from England, who has worked in the states for several years. He had sent us a resume last fall and worked in our shop from November 2009 to March 2010. In March we noticed some expensive parts were missing, and, believing that he had taken them, sent him packing. We later realized that two valuable pieces of equipment (one belonging to a client) were also gone. At about the same time I learned, to my surprise, that Mr. Hinson was in already jail on other charges.

We got a lucky break when a local (and honest) engineer heard about a missing item and contacted us. He had bought it after seeing it on Craigslist, not knowing it was stolen, and was good enough to return it to us. He provided good documentation of the purchase from Hinson, which gave the DA enough evidence to press charges, and apparently convinced Hinson to accept the judge's offer of a one-year sentence in exchange for a no contest plea. I also won a judgment in civil court, though the judge ruefully commented "Good luck collecting it."

I've learned that Mr. Hinson was also convicted felony grand theft in 2009, in a case that was similar to mine. And in the last few months, other people who encountered him have contacted me, leading me to believe there have been numerous other victims over the years. Perhaps some of Mr. Hinson's other victims will speak up, here or elsewhere.

This has been a giant hassle that could easily have been avoided.

Many people in our small industry know each other, or know of one another. Like many studios and audio businesses, my company is a small “family” operation. I’ve operated Studio electronics since 1981 with virtually no problems, so I had a sort of blind trust in people that increased over the years. It's easy to let your guard down and let a few weirdnesses slide -- this is a creative industry, with lots of crazy characters, right? It is, but a little caution goes a long way.. I doubt that CNN or Apple Computer would hire someone without a background check but until recently, I saw no need for it. $20 and a few minutes on one of the background check sites would have saved me a lot of grief. Even a free check on the L.A. County Sheriff's site http://app4.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm would have told me a lot. One needn’t be paranoid or overly suspicious of people...just take simple precautions.

I got a lot of help from numerous law enforcement officials and audio professionals, for which I'm very grateful. That's one great thing about our close-knit industry -- we do help each other. I hope that others can learn from my experience, and avoid similar problems.
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leonardo valvassori

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2010, 06:48:36 pm »

Glad it came to a reasonable conclusion.

Peace
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Leonardo Valvassori

RSettee

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2010, 07:18:10 pm »

Good to hear that action was taken and that there was a prosecution--you do the crime, you do the time.
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Paul Cavins

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2010, 07:35:47 pm »

So, we have DAVID JOHN HINSON and ADRIAN GOZUN, and there must be others....
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Larrchild

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2010, 10:01:46 pm »

He designed the Revolution mic pre and the UA 610. He's also been active in several tech discussions here. Very capable on many levels and seemingly a disaster on others, sad.
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Larry Janus
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2010, 10:57:52 pm »

The shame about this is this is that I really like John as a person.  And what really baffles me is that if he needed money, I can't understand why he would do work for me, and then not charge me..it's a shame.  He's a very talented, and kind guy...Too bad he couldn't find help, before this happened.

Sorry you had to go through that, David.  It was nice of you to help the guy out, and it sucks when you get burned for your good deeds.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

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David Kulka

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2010, 11:27:11 pm »

Well J.J., another hard learned lesson was "Beware of charmers telling sad stories". I can relate to all the things you said. A very common trait among those who con is that they are engaging and likable, even (seemingly) generous.

It seems like a contradiction but it's not, because the things that draw you in are a superficial performance -- another part of the game. It sounds to me like you were lucky, and thanks to timing or God knows what else, your did not end up being a target.

It's not kindness. It's manipulation, and it's classic.

(I think I'm side tracking my own thread, so I'll leave it there.)
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Bryson

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2010, 08:09:38 am »


Yeah... very sad.
I've had nothing but good dealings with him, since ten years ago. He's helped me out with DIY and tech issues, given me parts for free, etc.
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ssltech

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2010, 09:07:08 am »

I had very limited contact with him over the years; I unsderstand that David Keane took him in and was good to him at a time when he -apparently- was having some significant medical problems... I don't know for certain, but I suspect that David too may have had a bad experience in the end...

The most shocking aspect of my interactions with DJH was my impression of how much we had in common. -Now with the subsequent news, I'm left with a 'dirty' feeling.

It seems that DJH was able to take advantage of some of the nicer people out there... (the two Davids being classic examples of great people who LOVE their vocation!) and that just makes it all the more repulsive.

-It doesn't really restore any of the 'damage' done, but at least it might be a deterrent to think that thieves never prosper.

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

Jim Williams

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 10:25:25 am »

Under US Immigration law, if a naturalized citizen commits a felony they can be stripped of citizenship and sent back to whence they came from. If a resident alien, they are deported.

Of course, since immigration laws are not enforced, he will be released very soon due to California prison overcrowding. 40,000 other convicted felons are set to be released shortly here from a Federal judge's order to stop overcrowding.

Therefore he will soon be released back into the general population to continue his life of crime. Crime pays in California under this system.
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Jim Williams
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D. Uwins

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2010, 12:32:02 pm »

Wow. Where there is smoke, there's fire. With everyone's bad experiences i've read, this sorta isn't surprising.

Hopefully he gets his issues sorted out (personal/medical/whichever).

yeloocproducer

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2010, 01:09:55 pm »

I was aware of another felony and almost fell off my chair when I found out he had relocated to Dave's shop.

One thing to be aware of (and this is no surprise) is that such people could fly under different pseudonyms on the forums to sell equipment that they had stolen.  The community will need to be careful.  I lost around $1500 in parts purchased for a compressor mod over a year period, and I don't expect to see that back as was mentioned earlier.

Apparently, he's really erratic, apologizing and swearing off his misdeeds on one hand and then returning to them again as soon as possible.  I doubt he will leave prison with a new sense of purpose (unfortunately). The details of how some people can lift stuff and hide it in strange places, throw some of it away, take things apart in random ways, steal from some but not others when they have the chance... shows some sort of pathology but I'm not sure what that would be.

In short, if at some point in the future you meet an affable, likable, genius electronic designer from the UK (no accent to speak of) in his 40s who wears his hair long or short, has some vague health problems, looking for shop work in CA or elsewhere (been known to trek far and wide)... be very very careful.  That person might be capable of biting the hand that feeds.

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J.J. Blair

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2010, 05:42:14 pm »

I believe there is no stronger motivation for change than the consequences of being held accountable.  
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

ktownson

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2010, 09:35:49 pm »

The problem with some people like this is they believe their own BS. They convince themselves that they are, deep down, good people, then rationalize their bad actions, and may even do good and selfless acts as a way to continue the charade. I've never met this guy, but I've been burned by his ilk.

It can be an expensive lesson to the trusting victims, both in monetary terms and, perhaps worse, in your own willingness to trust others.



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jimmyjazz

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Re: Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2010, 11:20:15 pm »


For some, maybe it's just the thrill of the chase.  On a few occasions, I've done stupid, (minor) things as an adult just because I wanted to see if I could get away with them, and knew my odds were good.  Nothing worse than what the average pot-smoker does 5 times a day, mind you, just a different flavor of victimless misdemeanor.  I never really figured out why, either, but eventually realized that I was engaging in an infinite risk/reward proposition . . . because there was no reward.

Maybe guys like this have some of that thrill factor at work. It's sad, nonetheless.
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