Wow, 15 pages and climbing, cool.
I should try and clarify a few things, maybe I ad not stated some things as clearly as I should.
FMX: My post regarding my life was not intended to be me bragging about my life. What I had intended to mean was I am not about to have issues with the law over $950. Would it totally suck to be out the money and the lens? Of course, thats a lot of money to me and my family. I am very fortunate to have a job where I am trusted by the public at large. My grandfater was a fireman, my dad was a fireman and now I am. Losing my job over lying about having a stolen camera lens is just plain dumb. I have worked very hard to have what I have, why throw it away over a lie? If I lied about having the lens, and then somehow, some way I was found to have it....things would get very bad. Of course there are serial numbers and date codes that would give away it was a stolen lens. Stolen items (serial numbers) are listed in a database, accessible to any police officer, again why take the risk?
So, you might ask, how will they catch me. Well, the cop asks if I have the lens, I say no. He then asks what I did with it. Then begins the sea of lies one would have to create to cover for having the lens. Who did you sell it to, where, how much, etc... If you story does not jive and you begin to conflict things, you're pretty much busted at that point.
So, I get busted with the lens, knowing that it is stolen, THEN I am able to be charged with posession of stolen property, most likely along with some charge of lying to the police. I would then lose my job due to criminal charges and would not be able to support my family. The current job market is horrible for someone with an education, skills and a clean criminal record, it only gets more difficult for someone with a criminal record, particularly for something involving theft.
Then why hold on to the lens? Why lie about it. I talked to the cop, he told me to mail it to them. Something came up with my daughter and I was unable to mail it that day. I had gotten some great advice on here from some folks with legal backrounds and talked to a few cops I know as well, they advised to call the cop back. I talked to the cop again and he agreed it was ok to hold on to the lens and try and deal with the insurance company, so I still have the lens. If the cop told me to mail it down there, you bet your butt I would be in the post office ASAP.
I posted my experience on here not to warn people of Craigslist, not to tell people to run away from seemingly good deals and not to portray myself as some great person on a high horse. I just wanted to vent to some fellow photog's whom would appreciate my situation. I talk to the guys at work and they look at me funny because I even spent $950 for a lens in the first place , but who is the first guy they look to when there is a big fire and they want pictures taken? I have been disapponted in some responses in this thread, but thats none of my business. At the same time I have been absolutely blown away by other replies, even by complete strangers offering up cash for me to buy another lens, truly amazing. One member in particular has been awesome. Respecting their anonymity they have offered legal advice and their services to assist in me keeping the lens. I spoke with them on the phone yesterday and felt much better about everything after a brief chat with them. I am truly humbled.
Again, thanks for the replies and advice.