Stolen Celestron 5" SCT List
Help recover stolen equipment and learn how to protect and retrieve your telescope investment
|Celestron C5, C5+, G5, & NexStar-5 Theft List||See Notes Following|
|Serial #||Accessories Stolen||Unique Features||Theft Date||Theft Location||Owner Contact|
|Tube has Telrad mount||First half of 2001||Youngstown/Boardman area of Ohio||Sam DiRocco|
TeleVue Radian 14mm
Celestron Plossl 26mm?
Park Optical Plossl 35mm?
Lumicon mirror diagonal
12v adapter cord
Aluminum tripod with
Nexstar mounting plate
|July 19, 2000||Pinole, California. Motel Parking lot||Chris Maytag|
Here are general identifying descriptions for Celestron 5" SCT types listed above. All astronomical mounts take external power and those that can take batteries are noted below.
C5 Original: Built in from 1970s -- 1980s, the vast majorities are orange tube, a very few have black tubes, with 5x24 finder on twin fork base and wedge -- it looks like a mini-Orange Tube C8
C5/C5+: Built from the early to late 1990s, they have white tubes with 5x24 or 6x30 finders on single fork base and wedge. Does not require a tripod but usually employed with one. C5+ only: drive can be powered by 9-Volt battery.
C5 Spotting Scope: In production from the early 1990s to the present, they have white tubes with 8x20 finder -- usually on a photo tripod
NexStar-5: Built from the late 1990s to the present, this silver tube incarnation of the C5 has a Telrad-type finder and is on a sleek, single fork, computer-controlled ("Go to") mount. The LCD control pad docks in the arm. Uses 8 AA batteries. This type of telescope goes on the tripod without a wedge -- though one is optional for photography.
Why We Need This
It's a sad fact that your expensive telescope investment can become the target for thieves. After reading a theft report concerning a C5+ -- the same model I own -- I decided to create this central, worldwide database of stolen Celestron 5" SCTs.
There are other Internet listing services for stolen telescopes, such as the one sponsored by Astronomy-Mall and the Yahoo! MissingScopes Group. You should post your loss on as many of these sites as possible. But most listings are for any telescope type and how many people are drawn to those sites when making a used purchase? Hobbyists encountering this list, while visiting The Unofficial Home for Celestron 5" SCTs and surfing the Celestron 5" SCT Webring, are specifically interested in the Celestron 5" SCT series and may make more note of this listing and check back if they see a suspicious SCT on sale or display. I think all websites that cater to a specific brand and model of telescope should setup their own centralized listing, targeted at their type of telescope.
Advice Before Loss
When buying a telescope, have the dealer put the serial number of the tube on the receipt so you both have a copy of it. If the scope has a warranty card with a place for the serial number: send that in to the manufacturer as additional proof of ownership -- the nosey questions concerning your income on those cards is *optional*. Write the serial and model numbers down of all accessories you buy. Since most people don't follow our hobby they wouldn't know a NexStar from a Dobsonian: have a hardcopy picture of the scope handy to show around in case it disappears. You can take pictures yourself, printout images off the product's Internet site, or tear one from a catalogue (Orion Telescope and Binocular has nice pics in their color, glossy catalogue). Keep these records in a safe place away from the telescope and accessories so they don't also get stolen.
Put an address sticker where the thief won't bother looking: on the tube beneath the finder bracket for instance.
Advice Upon Loss
I don't have any idea what the recovery rate is for stolen telescopes, and I don't have a profile for the type of person that would steal a telescope. I wonder what percent of the thieves know what they stole? Are their organized rings that smuggle telescopes out of the country, like they do bicycles and cars? Not knowing these facts makes it hard to determine the best course of action for telescope recovery. But you've got to do something -- so here are my suggestions below.
Call the police to get the ball rolling. Supply them with the proof of ownership, serial numbers, and images. Get a police report. Ask them how they will handle this theft: are they just giving you a report for insurance purposes and throwing their copy in a file, or will they "work the case" by contacting pawnshops and other police departments in the vicinity? (It would be sad if the thief dumped the equipment a few miles down the road and the police don't know about it because it was found in another town). Ask them whom in the department you should contact if you get a lead regarding the scope.
Help yourself find the scope. I know it may sound futile, but it makes it easier for the thief if you don't try. If the police don't do it: call pawnshops in neighboring towns. Peruse "for-sale" items in the paper, check those Internet auction sites, post e-messages on local astronomy club sites and other stolen telescope sites, call other police departments and ask if any telescopes were recovered lately. Repeat on a monthly basis. (My local police department auctions off an amazing number of unclaimed goods every year -- the stuff was found, but the owners had stopped looking.)
If you suspect someone is advertising the sale of your scope: try to get the serial number to confirm it is yours. You can use a ruse: tell them you are very interested in buying the scope but need the serial number off the secondary to confirm such things as the age of the instrument, coatings used on that production run, etc., before you can make an offer. Be prepared to insist that you know a friend-of-a-friend that will be able to tell you facts based on the serial number.
I got this next piece of advice of the MissingScopes Group: Ask the police to take fingerprints or other forensic evidence at the crime scenes to see if it matches a known criminal. Some departments won't do this unless the stolen items exceed a certain value -- but you could insist they do anyway. Ask if the telescope's serial number can be entered into the FBI's national crime computer database of stolen items. If the thieves are caught, call up and speak to the person at the prosecutor's office handling the case. Make sure the prosecutor is prepared to ask the judge for restitution on damaged or missing items the criminals are charged with stealing. Just showing an interest in your case may move it to the top of the pile and motivate the prosecutor's office to do a thorough job.
How You Can Help
At the top of this page the table of missing 5" SCT scopes and a table of general descriptions for the 5" SCT types listed as stolen. If you suspect you've located one of these telescopes, click the owner link and e-mail them what you know.
If you wish to report a stolen C5, C5+, G5, NexStar-5 telescope; report the recovery of a listed telescope (It would be nice to post some success stories); or have a suggestion for improving this page: e-mail me at Astro-C5@pietro.org . When making a report, include the information indicated by the column headings.
If you run a website: place the current URL link in your browser's navigation bar on your page. The more people that know about this, the better our chances for success.