If it Sounds Too Good to be True by Randy Rowley


There are many FCS officers that I could find cause to brag on.  Many have made and continue to make significant contributions of their time that brings great benefits to the Club. However, instead of praising one of our officers, I instead will brag on one of our members – Virgil Vargus. Virgil called me a few weeks prior to the February 1, 1996 FCS General Meeting. He had found a deal on a bow and wanted to know if the price sounded right to me. From what he described it did indeed sound like a bargain. However, he was lacking some essential details so I told him that it would be better for me to see the bow in order to give a confident opinion. Virgil informed me that he would bring the bow to the meeting.

Virgil was true to his word. When I arrived at New Hope Wesleyan he already had the bow case open and a few admirers grouped around it. I saw at once that he had a quality bow. The bow was a Matthews Ultra Light. It was small, completely camoed, and had a speed cam on one limb and a round wheel on the other. It appeared to have graphite limbs and a magnesium riser. It was set at a draw weight of 70 lbs, an estimated draw length of 28 inches, and had an absolutely incredible let off (I found out later that it was set at 80 lbs.).

The bow was equipped with a mini overdraw with an adjustable arrow rest, a cobra sight with four light gathering sight pins, a stabilizer, a wrist style mechanical release, an arrow fletching tool, an arm guard, 18 Easton XX75 graphite arrows with field points, and a hard plastic case. I was amazed that he had managed to get all of this for only $150. Although I was not familiar with Matthews, I knew a quality bow when I saw one and told him so. The other bow hunters at the meeting concurred.

The next evening I took the totally boring tape that I rented on “How to Combat Buck Fever (which should have been titled “A cure for People with Insomnia”) back to Archery Country. As I was waiting to turn the tape in, I gazed at a rack of bows by the counter. My eye was immediately drawn to a twin brother of the bow that I handled the night before. It sported a sticker price of $460!

The accessories were easy to price. The sight retails for around $20.00 with $10 each for the sight pins ($60 total). The overdraw goes for around $60.00 with an additional $40.00 for the arrow rest ($100 total). The release retails for around $30 as does the case and stabilizer ($90 total). The arrow fletching tool goes for approximately $20. Easton XX75 arrows go for about $5 each ($90.00 total). The arm guard would cost around $15. Add this all up and you get $375. Added with the bow the total was $835 – $900 with tax!

As I mentioned earlier Virgil paid $150 for this set up, which was a heck of a deal and I told Bill (the owner of Archery Country) so. Bill, however, did not share my enthusiasm. He informed me that a friend of his had his Matthews bow stolen two and a half weeks earlier. As he described the accessories to me a chill went down my spine. I realized that Virgil had probably bought a stolen bow.

I called Virgil as soon as I got home. I told him that I had good news and bad news. He wanted the good news first, of course. I explained the deal that he got to him but then I told him that I believed that the bow was stolen. Our conversation ended after I gave him advice on what to do which was pretty much limited to calling Bill and the police (as I saw it).

Virgil called Bill and sure enough the serial numbers matched (Bill had sold the bow to his friend). Virgil found out the owners name and number and called. The gentleman was out of town but Virgil explained the situation to the guy’s wife and made arrangements to deliver the bow.

Virgil told me that the Lord provided for him the night he returned the bow. He placed it in the bed of his pickup. His wife, who was planning on going with Virgil to deliver the bow to the ladies house, was on the telephone. Virgil went into his house and waited seven minutes or so for his wife to end her conversation. When they went to get in the pickup, they saw that someone had stolen two rod/reel combo’s from their garage (Virgil had left the garage door open) while they were in the house. However, the thief walked by the bow in Virgil’s truck. I doubt that the bow’s owner would have believed that it had been stolen again!

I have met (I won’t say that I am friends with) many people who have the attitude of “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” I am proud to say that my friend Virgil is not among them. He exhibited a true Christ-like attitude and did not consider keeping the bow for a minute. In fact, to my knowledge, Virgil did not try to recoup the $150.00 that he lost. I know for a fact that the attitude that Virgil demonstrated was not lost on Bill or the bow’s owner. I do not know either mans spiritual condition but you know that if they are not believers they now see Christians in a different light.

I cannot let this story end without admonishing my fellow FCS members to be very careful who you buy used outdoor gear from.

It is often wiser to pay a little more and purchase items that have serial numbers, such as guns or bows, from a pawn shop, gun store or at a gun show (from a dealer). You may pay a little more but your odds of buying a stolen weapon are greatly diminished.

Police departments receive copies of all pawn tickets and merchandise that pawn shops purchase. If a pawn shop pawns or purchases an item that is stolen the police will confiscate it, return it to it’s rightful owner and prosecute the person who pawned it or sold it to the pawn shop.

When you buy from an individual you take a big chance, especially it you don’t know him. You might get a better deal from an individual but you also might get stolen merchandise. As the saying goes “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.”

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