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ShanEnri's avatar

Can a person get arrested for selling another's stuff after they leave it?

Asked by ShanEnri (4201 points ) July 19th, 2011

My niece’s boyfriend left her and their 2 kids high and dry. He took their money and food stamps and left her with nothing. He willingly left his stuff behind and there are witnesses saying he said he didn’t want and didn’t care about it. She needed money and asked me if I wanted the ps3 for $60 and of course I took it. Now he’s saying he’s going to have her arrested for theft for selling it to me! Can he do this?

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18 Answers

chyna's avatar

How long did he leave it there? I would think if you have witnesses saying he didn’t want it, the police would not want to get involved in a “he said, she said” fight and we’re only talking sixty dollars, it’s not worth it. He’s probably blowing steam and just continuing to show what a jack ass he truly is.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It will probably have to go to small claims court. No one will get arrested, but she may have to pay him. But if she tells the judge she sold it to buy food for the kids, he will likely get nothing.

marinelife's avatar

Make him follow through. I doubt anything will happen. He abandoned it.

YARNLADY's avatar

Warning – lecture to follow – Here is a case history for marriage. the laws are clear when the couples are married. When they are not, there is too much room for trouble.

WestRiverrat's avatar

The boyfriend could find hmself up on the charges for stealing the food stamps if they were provided through WIC. Some ambitious state attorneys love to prosecute them to further their political careers.

ShanEnri's avatar

I told her she has a lot more on him than he does on her so he probably won’t do it. He sold $2,000 worth of food stamps to go to the beach. He took her money and said he was going to buy cigarettes and never returned. I also told her to tell the police (if they come) that it’s her ps3 and there’s no way he can prove it’s his! So it will literally be his word against hers!

WestRiverrat's avatar

@ShanEnri for $2000 she should report him for taking the foodstamps. She should also file against him for child support immediately.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The case for marriage is that it’s easier to divide the stuff when you break up? In bizzarro world, maybe…

WestRiverrat's avatar

@dappled_leaves from a strictly legal sense it is.

Judi's avatar

The police would probably consider it a civil matter. If he really wanted to he could take her to small claims, but then she could counter sue for his share of the rent (without giving notice) utilities, and we won’t even go into child support. Don’t sweat it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@dappled_leaves A legal marriage is a contract between two people. It is nothing more. If they choose to break that contract, the legal consequences are clearly spelled out. A casual “living together” arrangement has no such consequence.

Hibernate's avatar

Indeed he abandoned the things behind.
And since most judge will use common sense it’s likely that he will have to pay a fine or end up with some community service because he is the THIEF. He stole when he ran away.

Remind him that he was a jerk but do not tell him what’s what here. He thinks he’s gonna get more out of your niece. In the end he will be the one paying for this. And if he starts it then let him finish it too.

Nimis's avatar

I’m not sure if this is entirely helpful, but…

Within 18 days after moving out of a rental unit, a tenant may write the former landlord requesting that the personal possessions left in the rental unit be returned.

Also, I can’t find a reference for it…but I do vaguely recall my pre-law friend telling me that after a certain amount of time, something left on your property is legally yours. Might be complicated if you both own the house though.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@YARNLADY and @WestRiverrat, a marriage for strictly legal reasons is no marriage at all. People could choose to marry so that a person can immigrate to your country – that is a marriage for legal reasons and nothing more, and that’s exactly why it is illegal. I think that you are both deliberately missing my point, which is that no one enters into marriage so that the breakup will be easier. That would be crazy. It’s more likely that a couple will choose to marry because it would make it harder to break up. A divorce is not just about the division of property.

Judi's avatar

@Nimis , abandoned property laws vary by state.

ShanEnri's avatar

He has decided to see reason and not have her arrested. I’ve been reading all your answers to her and she has given him an ultimatum to come and get what’s left and see his sons and leave peacefully or she’ll call the police on him about the food stamps and taking all her money. We both thank you all for your time and answers!

YARNLADY's avatar

@dappled_leaves This question is not about marriage, so I won’t continue, but there have been some lively discussions on Fluther about it that go into greater detail. I suggest you do a search on “What is marriage” for more information.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Thank you, @YARNLADY. Because finding more information on the definition of marriage was exactly the purpose of my response. Very helpful.

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