Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hashavas Aveidah in the News

Pair learn finders not always keepers:

Mon Nov 26, 11:01 PM ET
SALEM, Ore. - A pair of Salem residents learned the hard way that finders are not always keepers. Lonnie Anderson, 47, and Jacqueline Shimmin, 37, were arrested last week failing to return a lost ring. Each faces a charge of first-degree aggravated theft of lost or mislaid property, said Sgt. Albert Gordon of the Salem Police Department.

Oregon law states someone must make a reasonable attempt to return lost property to its rightful owner. The property may be kept if no one comes forward in 30 days.

"It's a universal law," Gordon said. "If you find something, you need to make some effort to return it to the rightful owner."

Gordon said a reasonable attempt would include posting an advertisement or bringing it to police. The law applies especially to property of high value or unique design, Gordon said.

The large, emerald-cut diamond ring was lost at a Salem grocery store on Nov. 15. That same day, a man and a woman brought a ring to the jewelry department at a Fred Meyer store, requesting an appraisal.

Fred Meyer employees said the appraisal would take a few days. The man and woman filled out paperwork but left with the ring, Gordon said.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 17, Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, a classified ad ran in the Statesman Journal newspaper: "LOST Large Diamond Ring: Generous Reward."

One woman connected the dots. She saw the ad and told detectives that she heard a story from a friend about two people finding a ring and taking it to a Fred Meyer store.

Detectives tracked down the person who placed the ad, then went to Fred Meyer. Detectives were convinced they were dealing with the same ring.

Detectives then found the pair who had requested the appraisal.

It didn't take long for them to admit they had the lost ring, Gordon said. He noted that they also acknowledged seeing the newspaper advertisement.

Police declined to say how much the ring was worth, but the charges Anderson and Shimmin face apply to items worth more than $10,000.
In other words, the ring has identifiable marks so even though it was lost in a public place one still must try to return it. But I don't think halakhah allows one to keep it if no owner comes forward in 30 days.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More