The ‘Theft by Finding’ Law for Lost and Found Items

The ‘Theft by Finding’ Law for Lost and Found Items

AJAR Hospitality

The ‘Theft by Finding’ Law for Lost and Found Items – Hello Ajarian! All items handed in It is possible to staff – or members of the public, guests or customers – who take items found in the venue for their own use, could be guilty of an offense called ‘Theft by finding’.

‘Theft’ involves deliberate intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of their legal right to their goods.

But please note to check with your Supervisor or local authorities to determine more specifically the ‘theft by finding’ laws as they apply to your country.


Items can only be taken for personal/private use if they have been ‘abandoned’ – that is, if they have been deliberately left with the intention by the owner of relinquishing legal title (or ownership) to the goods.

‘Losing’ an item accidentally does not fall under the definition of abandonment.

To avoid a charge of ‘theft by finding’ the finder is required to take reasonable action to determine or identify and locate the finder. If an item has been handed in to the Lost and Found facility at a venue and the venue has tried to identify/contact the owner, then this requirement may have been fulfilled.

Mislaid property

Property cannot be seen to be ‘abandoned’ if it is simply mislaid/misplaced.

This relates to items...

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