Mount Pleasant, PA asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania

Q: My mother found a wallet in a store, didn't turn it in right away, now they want to charge her for theft what can she do

She found the wallet and didn't give it to the clerks because she had read about how a woman's husband lost his wallet and someone turned it into the clerk, but the clerk, instead of keeping it safe, took the man's bank card and spent his money, so she didn't turn it in right away and began looking for the owner. she found it on Dec 21st, 2012 she was finally able to track the man down and gave him the wallet, with everything in it on Jan 2nd, 2013. the man didn't want to press charges but the lieutenant is pressing charges for unlawful theft of taking property and something about receiving stolen property. He said there was a video of her taking it. The man left it on the counter and she picked it up. she was just trying to do the right thing and now she is getting punished for it. She went to his address, called his daughter or daughter-in-law, found out where he worked and contacted him. what can I tell her to do because she is so upset about it?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Eric Michael Gibson
Eric Michael Gibson
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: She should get a lawyer because it sounds like she has a pretty good defense. "THEFT OF PROPERTY LOST, MISLAID: A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost or mislaid . . . is guilty of theft if, with intent to deprive the owner thereof, he fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to a person entitled to have it." Sounds like she took reasonable measures to restore the property. They also need the victim to testify that she didn't have permission to have his wallet. In this case it seems like the victim may agree she had permission to return the wallet to him.

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