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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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About a year ago (last April) my safe was taken from my

Customer Question

About a year ago (last April) my safe was taken from my house. Nothing else was taken that I'm aware of. I've been told by someone who plays softball with the police that the cops have it at there station. This is in a different county then I am and was living in at the time. I did not report the safe being stolen for certain reasons and not much of value was inside. I was renting the house at the time, can my landlord give permission to enter the house and take it? I talked to the landlord when it was taken and he said he didn't see anyone and didn't know who took it. Is it possible that the cops could've taken it without my permission or warrant? Or if someone stole it can they turn it in and say they found it? If so would I have been contacted in some way by now? There is a cereal # ***** the safe and I would assume if they had it I would've been contacted in someway by now? I know these question might sound rediculous but I am concerned about it. Thank you for your time.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

When you rent a house, you're renting the right to EXCLUSIVE use and enjoyment of the premises. The landlord can only enter without your consent in an emergency, and he wouldn't be allowed to remove anything. If you had some evidence that it was the landlord who took the safe and gave it to police, you could have them charged with theft and trespassing. Police need a warrant to enter your property without consent, or an emergency. There's NO emergency that would let them take the safe, though, because a safe isn't evidence of a crime, and they'd need a warrant to open it.

It IS possible that someone found the safe and turned it in and they just haven't contacted you yet. That could be because they're waiting to see if someone will report it missing, or it could just be that a found safe isn't a high priority for them and they're focusing on other things. They might also be trying to come up with a basis for getting a warrant to open it - but without knowing how they got it, it's hard to say if that's what they're doing. If you want to call and report it stolen or go pick it up, they cannot MAKE you open it without a warrant.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. If I did not address the specific thing that you wanted to know, it may not have come across clearly to me, so please restate that question. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Thank you.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your response. Can I report it stolen after a year? Ive read online it needs to be reported with in 90 days? If they ask me whats in it or to open it what should i say? The cereal # ***** the safe is registered wouldn't they contact me by looking up the cereal #? If it was turned in, it was through a third party who did steal it from my house. Could I ask who turned it in/ where it was suposally found? My x girlfriend knew where I kept the combination written down and I am nervous that they may have tampered with what was inside to get me in trouble. She has gone out of her way to get me in trouble already. If they are trying to get a warrant what would justify them getting a warrant for assuming something is inside of a safe? Especially when the claim they don't know who it belongs to? If it was turned in how long would the hold it for? could i be charged with whats inside after it was in someone else's possession? What would they do with it if it is never claimed or reported? Im planning on moving out of state and don't want this to come back to me after I move. Thanks again for your time and answers.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Ninety days is usually how long they'll hold found property before declaring it abandoned, but every police station has their own procedures. You'd have to ask someone who works there. They can also tell you their procedures for disposing of abandoned property. It doesn't sound like you know exactly when they got the safe. It's unlikely police would investigate since it's been a year, but they may allow you to pick it up if you want it. You're free to ask where they got it, but they're probably only going to tell you after you appear to claim it, so consider that if you really think someone may have planted contraband in it.

It would be logical for them to look up the serial number and contact you, but as I said, it's possible that it's just not a priority for them. It's also possible the serial number was damaged, covered up, or filed off. You'd have to ask police why they didn't do that - I'd only be guessing.

To get a warrant, they'd need some reason to think it held something. Like, "This safe was found in a drug house," or the safe smells like marijuana or something like that. Again, it's not likely, and there's no way to really know if that's the case when you have no idea how they received it.

It is possible that you could be charged with a crime based on what was found inside if you claim the safe and show police the contents. I can't think of any reason for you to open the safe in front of the police.

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