Legal question

Suppose that you receive a parcel that you never expected. For example
a crotch rocket motorcycle engine. There is no return address. All
reasonable efforts to find the owner fail. No one contacts me in, say,
2 weeks.
Does this item become my property?
Would it be legal to throw it away in garbage?
Would it be legal to sell it on ebay?
Is there a registry of stolen motorcycle engines?
What if I sell it and a month later, an owner materializes. Do I owe
anything to the owner.
I am very leery of the idea of selling this motor on ebay. It looks
like plenty of stolen motorcycle stuff is sold there and I, with the
lame story of fedex leaving it in my driveway, would look like a
thief. If I do not mention that story at all, then people would ask
all kinds of pointed questions like "how did you end up with this
engine if you do not know anything about it".
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An 8 foot tall Hell's Angel with a bike chain wrapped around his knuckles beats a lawyer every time!
Hope this helps, Peter
p.s. An Angel wouldn't be seen dead sitting on a Jap bike!
Reply to
Bushy Pete
I know that it's illegal to receive or sell stolen merchandise. I also know that if a company sends you a product in the mail that you didn't ask for you are under no obligation to return it.
Because of motor oil and other contaminants, it's probably illegal to throw it into a dumpster.
My guess is that you need to put a glass top on it and use it for a table in your living room. :)
Reply to
Dave Lyon
Firstly, why would you open a large, heavy, package found on your doorstep unexpectedly? Weren't you in the room when they had the anti-terrorist training session? How did you know it wasn't a bomb left there by the guy whose wife you have been messing around with on the side?
If I recall correctly, there are specific federal laws in regards to unsolicited merchandise delivered to you which generally say that the stuff is yours to keep, however I think this applies to items sent with the intent to later try to force you to pay for them: a company sends you a color TV and then, a few weeks after you have opened the box and plugged it in, they send you a bill.
Your best option is to notify the local police. If they have a record of stolen parts and can identify the items, you are off the hook and may even get a good citizen award. In most jurisdictions, if no one comes forward to claim the items in some set period of time (typically defined by state law - 30 days, 90 days, whatever), the property becomes yours and you are free to do with it as you wish.
Of course, I am not a lawyer and therefore have no idea what I am talking about. :)
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Reply to
Carmine Castiglia
I could smell oil stink coming out... So I was not concerned about a bomb.
they divorced many years ago, I doubt he would be interested
That's my feeling as well. I may actually call the police to see if there is a registry of stolen motorcycle engines.
Reply to
The problem with asking legal questions here is that you'll get posts about what people believe *should* be true, but may bear no resemblance to the law. Unless the post says "I'm a lawyer and ..." or "I had that happen to me and ...", you shouldn't rely on it.
That said, and without giving you *advice*, I'll say that if it happened to me, I would set the parcel aside, for some reasonable period, say a month, and wait for something to happen. At the end of the month, I would treat it as my own. If contacted, *I* would feel entitled to storage and/or handling fees to return it (at his shipping expense). Or tell him "Come and get it".
I also *believe* that this is covered by the Uniform Commercial Code, which you should be able to find in a library.
Reply to
Bob Engelhardt
Wouldn't that be, "knowingly"? Iggy has no reason to know that this is stolen, not even any real reason to suspect that it is. All he knows is that someone sent something to him without a return address. For all he or any of us know, he could have forgotten a swap deal made long ago, that someone finally made good on. Or, maybe someone knows he likes interesting stuff. Or, maybe someone is just messing with him. If you think about it, it's a great prank - send someone an item of non-trivial value, no mention of origin, and sit back and watch the results. Wasn't me, but I'm storing this little idea for possible future use.
FedEX may have different rules than US mail, not sure.
Well, it'd be a waste to just toss it.
You didn't see his post about the wife being pissed, did you. I don't think your approach would help much ;)
Here's what I'm thinking, Iggy. Someone sent it to someone else. Somehow, it got to you. You were either supposed to get it, in which case it's yours, or you weren't supposed to get it. If you weren't, the person who _was_ supposed to get it will, at some point, contact the seller and say "Hey, where's my engine." With any luck, he'll then figure out he sent it to you by mistake, send you 20 bucks extra to cover your hassle and for you to ship it where it belongs. I'd hang on to it for 3 months if it were me, after which I think that's a reasonable amount of time to shrug it off and add it to the stack-o-stuff to be sold.
Seem reasonable?
Reply to
Dave Hinz
The other nice thing about running it by the police is that when you _do_ sell it on ebay you can just tell the story & maybe include copies of any paperwork you get from the police (well, the first page, anyway).
Reply to
Tim Wescott
I'm not a lawyer, and I live in England, so this may be of limited use to you. According to English law I believe that for cash paid or goods supplied in error, the person who made the error has sixth months in which to request the cash or goods be returned (at their expense). After that they become yours. But this is just a very vague recollection I have from when a friend of mine was supplied some computer parts in error.
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
Yes, it is a clever idea. I hope that the record of me trying to locate the owner (which I will keep), as well as the shipping label etc, which I will also keep, will be proof enough of no bad intent on my part. I do intent to have a little folder with documents.
Sure, it's just a hypothetical question.
My wife is not pissed at the motor, as she is satisfied that I did not order it. But she is pissed that my stuff takes so much space and I am pissed about it too. A 4 cylinder engine in my garage does not help.
3 months is not reasonable. 2 weeks will be more like it. You see, I am much more skeptical about the chances of the seller/buyer finding me via fedex, because of the shipping label. It was handwritten and is not traceable to a person. I already called fedex. I suspect that it was put in that box at a fedex location after it fell out of some other box, with that label having been written by fedex personnel.
Reply to
Honestly, I don't know. What you say sounds reasonable, but I've never known reason to slow down a law maker. :)
Reply to
Dave Lyon
"Carmine Castiglia" wrote
If it were me the engine was sent to I'd check very carefully for finders keepers laws in my state AND local areas. There was a well publicized case in WI where a person found a wad of cash and turned it in to the police to find the owner. No one claimed it so the city took it ! Seems there was a local ordinance that sez unclaimed cash (or goods?) gets snarfed up by the local guvmint.
Seeing it's a motor vehicle part with a VIN, it's easily tracable to the previous _registered_ owner. A cop could easily find out who that is. Before I call the cops to track down the previous owner I'd see if such a law exists in my locality. If no one claims it and the guvmint takes it, you lose. Take it in to a locality where you get to keep it. A friends home maybe? Or if you know a friendly cop personally maybe he'll find the last registered owner for you on the side. Then you can contact that person to resolve the dilemma. If the cops insist on taking it "into custody" cover it with old grease and crankcase drippins and tell them to come and get it.;-) Or ship it to me and I'll dispose of it for you in a safe and environmentally frendly way.
FedX may wind up calling you if they can track it in thier wharehouse. I'm sure the sender will get a call from the intended recient and get an earful. Tom
Me too.;-)
Reply to
Tom Wait
I've scanned this thread, and couldn't find exactly if there's an airbill, or just an address label. An airbill, even with no return address, can be traced to the account/credit card of the shipper. (I don't think they take cash.) Also, look for any airbill stickers on what was left of the packaging -- 2" x 1/4" white stickers with potentially valid airbill numbers on 'em. Even if they're old, from recycled packaging, it's a clue to FedEx.
If you get a good FedEx guy in "overgoods" (their lost shipment department in Memphis) they might be able to do a search of shipments by weight. That narrows the field considerably.
This is, of course, if you actually want to find the owner. Which it seems like you do.
If it's a valid shipment to and from someone, they're going to end up paying someone for the thing at some time. That could help things along in your dealings with FedEx.
There's also a department called "Executive Services" (or at least there was) that can do good things by using the power of Mr. Smith's office. Had to use it once.
"Chip" in Columbus
Reply to
Chip Chester
Just an fedex HANDWRITTEN address label. No return address.
I also recall that there was a harbor freight catalog tangled in plastic shrinkwrap, maybe there is an address printed on it. Ithrew it in my garbage, but the garbage is still in my yard.
They did not sound like they cared about it too much when I called fedex. I do not want to go way out of my way to help them avoid paying insurance on this, especially since it looks like they dropped the package in transit.
Reply to
Look it over for serial numbers and contact the manufacturer. Ask them the same battery of questions and see where it gets you. Keep any and all labels and papers that were on the crate it was sent in just in case. Also, in case it came from ebay, scour for recent engine auctions and see if the seller is someone you've worked with before. Could have simply mixed up addresses.
Reply to
I called Suzuki 30 minutes ago. They cannot help me identify the owner.
Also a good point, but nothing came up that looked like my engine.
Reply to
I presume from your posts on this thread that it wasn't a hypothetical question and this has actually happened to you.
If it were me, I'd just take it to the local police station, tell them what happened and get a receipt for it from them.
That's what SWMBO did some years ago when she found a lady's wallet outside of a shoe store with a couple of hundred bucks of cash in it and no identification. The police told her that if no one claimed it in a year they'd contact her and it would be hers to keep.
I skeptically told her "Fat chance of that happening, some cop's sister-in-law will surely claim it before that happens."
I was wrong. About a year later the police called her up and said, "Come get it." And all the money was still in it.
Things may be different where you live, but I personally think it's better to live by the sign I have on my office wall reading, "There is no right way to do the wrong thing.".
P.S. A couple of years ago UPS rang my doorbell and asked to drop off a carton addressed to the house next door, to which I agreed. The neighbor's house had been unoccupied and on the market for over a year and the name the package was addressed to wasn't that of my departed neighbors TThe return address was a sporting goods store half way across the country. I figured some teen-agers were using swiped credit card numbers to buy stuff and have it shipped to houses they knew weren't being lived in, hoping UPS would leave the packages at the door so they could swing by at night and grab them. I hooked a call to my ex-neighbors and got their permission to get involved.
I called the company who'd shipped the carton and found out my suspicions were spot on, and that there was a few hundred bucks worth of paintball gear in that carton. I told them I'd take it to our office and they could have UPS issue a "pull tag" and pick it up from there, which they did. I spotted two more shipments from two other merchants sitting on the neighbor's doorstep and did the same with those.
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
I am planning on a middle ground here. I called the police and if someone calls me back (I spoke to their detectives' secretary), I would run the engine number past them to see if it is in a stolen engine database.
Very nice.
Well, that's the question, what is the wrong thing here.
I am curious, why did you not get the police involved.
Reply to
Sound's like those kids have been reading the Anarchist Cookbook's file on credit card fraud. I remember it circulating while I was at school:
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Reply to
Christopher Tidy

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