Q: I found a Remington Express Magnum model 870 when I was out walking on my canal. It was wrapped in a towel that had started to deteriorate. I always like to do the right thing but if the owner of this can’t be located I would like to keep it. What is your recommendation on this? It will need definitely cleaned up and re-done if it’s usable. But what are the chances it was stolen?—Alice
A: This is where I wish I really knew a lot about guns but 870 or 871 whatever works (Mr. Mom fans will get that one, 80’s movie).
I can tell you that the serial number you gave me did not show it was stolen when I checked it through dispatch, so that is one hurdle cleared.
My recommendation is to go along with Idaho Code 55-405 which reads: “Any person who finds money or goods valued at $100 or more, excepting firearms, explosives or other deadly weapons, if the owner of the money or goods is unknown, give written notice of the finding within ten days to the county clerk of the county in which the money or goods were found. Within twenty days after the date of the finding, the person who finds such money or goods shall cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county a notice of the finding once each week for two consecutive weeks. Each such notice shall state: (a) A general description of the money or goods found; (b) The address and telephone number of the county clerk’s office; and © The final date by which such money or goods must be claimed.(2) If no person establishes ownership of the money or goods prior to the expiration of three months from the date of the notice to the county clerk, as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the person who found such money or goods shall be the rightful owner thereof.
I believe that if you follow these rules then you should be able to claim the Remington as yours to own. Failing to follow the rule could also lead to a charge of theft. As I have written about before that finding property you know is not yours and not reporting it, does fall under the law of theft (Idaho Code 18-2403©.
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- Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, United States Border Patrol
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