When you find apparently abandoned property, you may think it’s “finders keepers.” But in Oklahoma, if you find it and keep it, you could be prosecuted.
Larceny – Lost Property
One who finds lost property under circumstances which gives him knowledge or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person who is not entitled thereto, without having first made such effort to find the owner and restore the property to him as the circumstances render reasonable and just, is guilty of larceny.
Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21, Section 1702 (Supp: 2009)
Interestingly, this statute which was enacted in 1910, has not one court decision construing it.
What is the penalty for such larceny? That depends on the “degree” of the larceny, which in turn is defined by the value of the item found:
Degrees of Larceny
Larceny is divided into two degrees; the first of which is termed grand larceny, the second petit larceny. Title 21, Section 1703 (Supp: 2009)
Grand Larceny and Petit Larceny – Definitions
Grand larceny is larceny committed in either of the following cases:
1. When the property taken is of value exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).
2. When such property, although not of value exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), is taken from the person of another.
Larceny in other cases is petit larceny.
Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21, Section 1704 (Supp: 2009)