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Surrey man aims to help the lost become found, online
Jan 15 2011
It was more than just a scarf that Karyu Kaluamura lost on the No. 320 bus to Fleetwood between 9:30 and 10 p.m. on Dec. 28 — it was one handknitted by his girlfriend over four months of loving hard work.
“It was very important to me,” said the 20-year-old pastry chef student, who was willing to offer up to $100 for its return. “It was the first scarf she ever knitted.”
“And to be honest, I really liked it. It was really warm and it didn’t itch.”
Like an increasing number of people searching for lost or stolen items, Kaluamura turned to an online lost-and-found site to try to get it back.
“I had nothing to lose,” said Kaluamura, who still hadn’t received any response to his Craigslist ad on Friday.
The popularity of online lost-and-found sites may have more to do with people’s faith in the honesty of others than finders’ need to do the right thing: On a recent day, Craigslist had 238 listings with “found” and 586 with the word “lost” in the title.
But Darren Martin, 45, a Cloverdale sheet-metal worker, started itslonggone.com about two years ago as a hobby after being robbed and has a goal to make it the largest lost-and-found site in the world one day.
He said he’s heartened by those who don’t live by the adage “finders keepers.”
“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘Oh, bless you, thank you,’” he said. “It’s great for me to know I’m helping people.”
He said he believes other people are similarly motivated. His site has about 3,000 listings across Canada, he launched in the U.S. recently and he hopes to expand to Europe.
Martin said his site is superior to others, which purge listings after a set number of days, because he keeps the information indefinitely so that buyers can check to see, for instance, if second-hand merchandise they’re buying belongs to someone else.
Martin has yet to make any money on itslonggone.com and he can’t provide any statistics on how successful it is because not everyone lets him know when they get their gear back, but that hasn’t stopped him from running the site.
He said he’s astounded by what he gets listings for — the largest was an excavator, the smallest an earring and the saddest a model’s portfolio — and wants to become the go-to site for all lost and stolen items so that searchers don’t have to go to the dozens of sites out there.
“I want to be the one-stop shopping site for everyone,” he said.
Martin was chosen to pitch his idea to the five millionaires on CBC TV’s The Dragons’ Den.
“If Dragons’ Den airs, it [his website] will go mental,” he predicts.
Others have tried to turn the idea into a successful business model, including lostenroute.com, which promises to try to pair those who lose items on public transport in select cities, including Vancouver, with those who find items.
But the site doesn’t download any items for lost or found search terms.
Boomerangit.com offers a different twist and tries to monetize the generally free service. You register valuables -- for a fee -- and then tag them with labels directing those who may find the item to go to the website to connect with the owners.
Some services have no plans to go digital. For instance, TransLink, which has a lost-and-found department, said if items were photographed and posted online, “We wouldn’t be able to weed out the people who were just fishing” for items, he said.
But people can e-mail the department to find out if someone has turned in a lost item, he said.
Posted On: 2011-01-18 18:18:07
Surrey lost and found website on Dragon's Den
Jan 14 2011
SURREY — If you lose it, Darren Martin wants to help you find it.
The Surrey man is the creator of ItsLongGone.com, a free online lost-and-found he created in September 2009. Have you lost something, your wallet or maybe your cell phone? Log in, describe what you've misplaced and where. People who have found wayward items can do the same. The service is available across Canada and the U.S.
"What started it was we left our garage door open at home one day and thieves came in a helped themselves," Martin explained.
"I was insured and I used some of my insurance money to start my website. My goal is to be the Craigslist for lost, stolen or found items. If your wallet, laptop or whatever is missing, this is where you go to find it."
To that end, Martin went dancing in the dragon's jaws last April as a contestant on the CBC's Dragons Den reality show. There people pitch their business ideas and try to persuade a group of Canadian business moguls to invest in their schemes.
Martin's episode hasn't aired yet and until it does, he's not allowed to reveal the outcome.
Martin's day job is handling technical sales for Acrodyne Fabrications, his family's metal fabrication business in Newton. He said a significant portion of the posts on his website are written by people who have fallen victim to thieves.
"Look at our windows," Martin said, gesturing to the security bars gracing the doors and windows of his office.
"That's typical, people trying to protect their stuff. People will steal anything."
Dogs, for instance. Martin said it's incredible how many people use his site and others trying to recover missing dogs.
"I think there's a huge problem with missing dogs. Basically, if you've got a small dog, one that won't chew a thief to pieces, and you leave it in your car, it's going to get stolen."
The website is straightforward and easy to use and gets as many as 20,000 hits on busy days. Martin can also send reports of missing items to Facebook and Twitter.
"The goal is to help people reunite with their stuff. People have their whole lives on their BlackBerries and in their pets."
Posted On: 2011-01-18 18:19:03
Itslonggone.com has been been accepted for CBCs Dragons Den 2010
Posted On: 2010-06-22 02:38:25
Surrey victim takes a stand against crime
According to the latest B.C. Progress Board report, property crime rates are falling fast in this province. But I don't buy it. I think that, especially in Metro Vancouver, people are as light-fingered as ever.
They'll steal anything these days, even gravestones . . . even the brass numbers on my home.
The official statistics may show a large drop in break-ins and other thefts in recent years. But the fact is theft victims increasingly have stopped reporting these so-called petty crimes. They know there's little the police can or will do.
As for getting justice in the courts, forget it. Chronic thieves are in and out of jail so fast it makes your head spin.
And Surrey crime victim Darren Martin agrees with me that people's attitudes have changed alarmingly from the days when theft was considered a major sin. If you were caught stealing, you paid for it dearly.
Martin, 44, knows what he's talking about. In a span of six months, his family's sheet-metal business was hit by four B&Es. Someone even stole the gate of the complex where the business is located.
Then, in the summer of 2008, his own home was robbed. He had a garage-full of stuff stolen, including his keys, cellphone, wallet, tools and various radio-controlled cars.
That was when the Cloverdale father of three had his I'm-not-going-to-take-it-anymore moment.
He decided to set up a craigslist-style website for those who've had things stolen, lost or recovered. It's called itslonggone.com, and its logo features a raccoon with a magnifying glass and a Sherlock Holmes cap.
Based on the postings, Martin says the items people seem to lose most are digital cameras and cellphones. The items most commonly stolen appear to be recreational vehicles — including boats, snowmobiles, trailers and all-terrain vehicles.
"If you've got a quad and you don't have a safety lock on it and someone knows it's there, it's going to be gone," he told me.
Martin believes the tough economy has compounded the problem. Normally law-abiding citizens are resorting to theft because they're desperate to meet mortgage or other debt payments.
But he also thinks declining morals are to blame. It wasn't so long ago that people didn't need to lock their homes. "These days, if you leave your bicycle outside, even on the front porch of your house, someone will nick it," he says.
We have to take a stand against this. That is why, like me, Martin strongly disagrees with the British priest who told his congregation before Christmas that shoplifting could be justified if a person was in real need.
Thieves cause society an enormous amount of damage ... and not just to their victims. Shoplifters don't just hurt the operators of the stores they rip off; they increase the price of goods for all shoppers. Smash-and-grab car thieves raise everybody's auto insurance premiums.
The fact is thievery is wrong, period. We've just got to get back to treating it as the nasty, sneaky, antisocial crime it really is.
Posted On: 2010-06-22 02:37:41
Stuff gone? check out this dot com.
Surrey now newspaper
Posted On: 2010-06-22 02:38:07
Darren Martin in
The Okagana valley of Kelowna in British Columbia saw a sad twist of events as the major fire that broke out in the region led to an equally disappointing act of robbery in the region. There were nearly 10 fire evacuees who reported robbery from their premises while there were out during fire evacuation by the authorities.
Even Itslonggone.com's Darren Martin, resident of the Lower Mainland, wasn’t spared of the unfortunate robbery incident. Therefore, he decided to start off his website, Itslonggone.com to help people post online for their lost and stolen goods.
The website which has been recently launches is expected to aid in the identification and tracking down of stolen goods and become a utility in the hands of the police and public at the same time.
In case, you have lost or found any item, kindly post on the site to help the robbery victims.
Posted On: 2009-07-25 03:11:50
Welcome to itslonggone.com
A newer site to let you advertise your lost/found or stolen property for free.The more people that see your post the better the chance for a quick safe return. If you have any ID numbers (vin) be sure to add them in your description.
Posted On: 2011-02-09 09:51:50
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