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Theft From My Shop: David John Hinson Pleads No Contest, is Sentenced

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David Kulka:
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.

leonardo valvassori:
Glad it came to a reasonable conclusion.


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

Paul Cavins:
So, we have DAVID JOHN HINSON and ADRIAN GOZUN, and there must be others....

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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