Last week I went to an estate auction and won 2 antique cast iron small tables. I only paid $75 for the pair of side tables but my neighbor who sells antiques told me that he would have them in his store for $300 a piece easy. They were in good shape and I was so excited to finally have found these for my sunroom. I had measured and placed an order for the marble top I wanted made to fit the day after I got my tables and paid for them. The two tables did have some rust on them so I left them by my side porch next to my compost can (the can I fill with leaves and food to take to the compost pit, not the same as my trash cans). My trash cans sit out by my garage about 140 feet from the house in the back part of the property. At about 5am I heard noise outside on my side porch. I got up and got dressed and by the time I got downstairs to the porch all I had seen was a white truck pull away. I did notice right away that my two tables were gone. I called the police to report it. The police officer said that he knew exactly who took my tables and he would try to catch up to the person. He came back to my house a little after lunch with the guy and his truck. The guy explained that he had seen the tables by what he thought was a trash can and thought they were trash so he figured free pickings. He also said that he had already taken them to the scrap yard and they are gone. He was very apologetic but at the time I was sort of on pain meds so I didnt know how to respond. The police officer did explain to the guy (infront of me) that the area was clearly private property and even if I had the metal out for trash he legally can not take it without permission. Yet it is up to me if I wish to prosecute. Which here is my problem, they guy is sick and his mind is not all there. The police officer explained to me that usually they look the other way if he picks from the trash for he does scrap the metal and use the money to buy his medication and pay bills. His hands shake and he looks pale. You can tell he is not quite as intelligent as he should be (not exactly how to phrase that nicely). So I feel bad for him, but at the same time, the chance of me finding these tables again is slim and probably not even close for the great deal I managed. Yet I will also have two marble slabs made to fit these tables and no table. If I press charges that takes money away he really doesnt have, but he needs to learn a lesson somehow right? I shouldn't have to just eat this loss right? Would prosecuting even make me feel better? Replacing the money won't get me the tables so prosecuting doesn't do much either for me. Ugh back and forth on thinking... I am confused on what to do.... would you prosecute?