Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Lost Property

Lost Property. The law of finding lost property, after numerous contradictory decisions, has been determined by the Court of Criminal Appeal in the following way: - 1. If a man find goods that have been actuaily lost, or are reasonably supposed by him to have been lost, and appropriates them with intent to take the entire property of them, really believing, when he takes them, that the owner cannot be found, it is not theft. 2. But if he takes them with the like intent, though lost, or reasonably supposed to be lost, but reasonably supposing that the owner can be found, it is larceny. In the case on which the foregoing decision was come to the prisoner had found a bank-note, but had no means of knowing who was the owner. Afterwards he was informed who, the owner was; but, notwithstanding this, he changed it and applied the money to his own use. He was held not to be guilty of larceny because when he found it he did not know that the owner could be found. This law applies to parcels, packets, or other chattel property, left by oversight or negligence in the possession of a stranger. They can be appropriated by the finder or possessor only in the entire absence of any likelihood or natural possibility of the real owner appearing or being found.