(WSVN) - If you’re robbed and police recover your stolen items, do you have to wait months or even years to get your stuff back? And can someone with a medical marijuana card smoke in a no smoking area? The answers to these questions are others are in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Bill Brogno retired, he was ready to get a big bang out of life.

Bill Brogno: “I can spend more time at the shooting range and shooting competitions and stuff like that. I can enjoy myself and I can enjoy the gun.”

But Bill didn’t get to enjoy his Smith & Wesson revolver for very long.

Bill Brogno: “I had come home from the shooting range, and I put it in my console. I forgot it.”

The next morning Bill saw someone had broken into his jeep and stolen the gun. He called the police.

Bill Brogno: “He said more than likely, you’re not going to get the gun back, because they’re very hard to find.”

But three years later, Margate Police did arrest a man with the gun.

Bill went to get it back. It was a wasted trip.

Bill Brogno: “He said to me, ‘It could take up to 10 years to get back your gun. He’s got to go to trial, he might appeal it, and all this time we have to hold your gun for evidence.'”

When Bill heard that you could have knocked him over with a feather.

Bill Brogno: “I think it’s ridiculous. I want the gun back.”

Whether it’s jewelry, a gun, a car, if it’s stolen and then recovered, do you have to wait months or years for the trial to get it back? Aim and fire, Howard.

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Patrick, no. The legislature passed a law that says, in almost every case, the state attorney and judge should promptly return a victim’s property unless there is a compelling reason not to. In this case, Bill should get the gun back immediately.”

People are still trying to get their money back from events like the Ultra Music Festival that were postponed because of COVID. You said, if it’s postponed, the promoters can keep the money, but it’s going on two years now. How long can they keep the money?

Howard Finkelstein: “If the promoter has rescheduled or plans to, they can keep your money, unless you can show your life circumstances have changed due to the passage of time, and you cannot attend the event. Then they have to return the money.”

Airlines, cruise lines, companies like that cancelled trips because of COVID, and people agreed to set another date. Now people who don’t want to go are being told, “You can’t get your money back because you agreed to reschedule.” What do you think?

Howard Finkelstein: “The customer is out of luck. The law calls it an accord and satisfaction, which means you have agreed to a new contract. In other words, you agreed to reschedule, and you are bound by that contract.”

A woman wanted her records from her doctor’s office. She couldn’t get them. Who owns your medical records? You or your medical provider?

Howard Finkelstein: “The medical provider owns your records, but you have a right to get a copy of them. They can charge you to make copies, but legally, it has to be reasonable price.”

Here is a tricky one. A viewer says a fellow moved into a no smoking apartment complex, but he is smoking marijuana, claiming he needs it for medical reasons. Can he light up?

Howard Finkelstein: “It’s actually a complicated question. If you just have a medical marijuana card, you cannot smoke it in a no smoking area, but if you use marijuana because you are disabled, you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation. In a normal building, you could smoke it. In a non-smoking building, you might have to use other ways to ingest the pot.”

A few calls got Bill’s gun back.

Bill Brogno: “When I called Help me Howard, it only seemed like it took a couple of days.”

I discovered the man caught with Bills gun had worked out a plea deal and got probation. The case was closed.

The Broward State Attorney’s Office then asked the judge to release the gun. He did, and Margate Police handed it back to Bill.

Bill Brogno: “Help Me Howard, thank you very much. Everything worked out good. I really appreciate what they done for me. I got my gun, but I made two friends, too.”

Glad we could help you, Bill.

Howard Finkelstein: “Now he can head back to the gun range to do what he enjoys: target practice.”

A problem triggered a need for help? Ready to target a solution? Aim for us. Shoot. We’d love to help.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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