Social Question

john65pennington's avatar

Should this Christmas present thief be arrested?

Asked by john65pennington (29187points) December 21st, 2010

Each year, our trashman leaves a Christmas card on our trash cans. This year, I decided to do something different, as a Christmas present for him. On trash pickup day before Christmas, I left an unopened bottle of beer with a $5.00 bill taped to it and a card saying HO HO HO Merry Christmas. The bottle was placed on the trash can the day of my trash pickup. Well, the trashman never received his Christmas gift. A neighbor tells me he witnessed a man grab the bottle of beer and run. Question: should this suspect be arrested? Here is why I ask this question. According to law,anything placed on public property is fair game for anyone, especially trash in trash cans. Since this was not trash, but rather a gift, does this law apply in this situation?

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16 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think the thief should be arrested. Clearly, he took something that was not meant for him.

Eggie's avatar

He should be arrested…it is stealing and thats against the law.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If the bottle had the trashman’s name on it, then I suppose it was a theft. If not, then it could be perceived as a gift to the first thirsty person to come upon the trash can.

The person putting an unopened and unsupervised bottle of beer out in the public could have some questions to answer, also, regarding “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” if it had been a child that took the beer.

coffeenut's avatar

If your card is accurate….it isn’t addressed to anyone….
So it could be interpreted as anyone who see’s this could be a gift for them (random act of kindness)

Gifts like that should be given in person…no mistakes..no confusion…

misstrikcy's avatar

It was a really nice thought, but a bit daft really.

As for arresting him… dont you think that’s a little OTT?
Come on. you left a note, not addressed to anyone in particular, on the bin saying HO HO HO Merry Christmas….
Is the guy who pinched it a mind reader? How was he to know it wasn’t for him?

I understand you’re upset and cross, but I think you need to let this one go. Make sure you do something better next year so something similar doesn’t happen again.

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, I left out an important part of my question. the Christmas card had To: Trashman. the bottle was completely covered, except for the card and $5 bill surrounding it. i had been watching the gift for about 20 minutes, to make sure the gift was only received by my trashman. water pill duty called and i had to go…..about 3 minutes. this is when the theft occured. i knew i could not leave a gift, unattended on my trash can. i observed it constantly, knowing it was a bottle of beer. like someone said, i knew there was a possibility that the bottle of beer would be taken by a juvenile, so i set up a surveillance. it was either bad timing on my part or good timing on the thiefs part.

Judi's avatar

If the guy is so desperate that he needs to steal $5.00 and a beer, let him be. It’s Christmastime, the season of generosity, grace, and forgiveness.

misstrikcy's avatar

@john65pennington That is bad timing. The only 3 minutes you’re not there and that’s when the theft occurred…
Ok so the card was addressed to the Trashman – yes that seems like theft to me. Would I want him arrested? Personally, no, but that’s because I’m full of xmas cheer and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt at the moment.
I’d probably feel very different if this had happened to me.

Was the theif identified?

Kayak8's avatar

Curious why a cop is leaving beer around where underage folks can pick it up and abscond . . . .

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m with @Kayak8 on this. Seems like a poor idea to just leave a bottle of beer out there for anyone…

Cruiser's avatar

@john65pennington Drink the beer….“refill it”, chill it and put it out again for the thief again next garbage day. Better yet…give him a whole six pack of JP special home brew!

klutzaroo's avatar

Wait… you can prove this and know who it was so you can arrest them? You have enough proof for this? Or is this all just theoretical?

I agree with @Kayak8 and @JilltheTooth that leaving beer out where anyone can get it is irresponsible.

Likeradar's avatar

“According to law,anything placed on public property is fair game for anyone, especially trash in trash cans. Since this was not trash, but rather a gift, does this law apply in this situation?”

I think the law completely applies. Things in trash cans are fair game. I think that says it all.

Supacase's avatar

I don’t understand giving a beer to someone driving the garbage truck. Or anything else, actually.

Berserker's avatar

The closest thing I can think of is that it’s like stealing mail, which is a federal offense. However, being that this was on the trashcan, it might change, although in some places you can get someone charged for garbage picking if that garbage is on private property, which is the closest thing I can see this theft being related to when it comes to illegal acts. (Or public for that matter.) But then the act may translate as trespassing rather than theft, since people usually don’t leave stuff by the garbage that don’t want to have thrown away.You’d have to inquire to your town or city hall about this.
Still, I’m totally with @Judi on this one.

jazmina88's avatar

A woman here tried to get cash for the toys the Policemen bought her kids.
She was arrested.

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