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Ask Policeman Dan

Ask Policeman Dan: Can you keep a wrongfully delivered package?

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It might be a new year, but sadly in the year 2021 we lost 482 law enforcement officers and 21 K-9s killed in the line of duty.

God bless all these officers killed in the line of duty and their families, for they fought the good fight and now may they rest in peace.

Let’s hope that 2022 brings that number down.

Q: I know you’re working for UPS now and have a question. If I get a package delivered to my address for somebody who does not live there anymore do I get to keep it? I say no but my friends tell me finders keepers is the law there. -Ken

A: Well, I hope your friends like you visiting them in jail because that’s where their “finders keepers” logic would get them.

Keeping something that you know does not belong to you is theft. That would include anything delivered to you as well.

Idaho code 18-2403 reads: “A person steals property and commits theft when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof. (2) Theft includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of another’s property, with the intent prescribed in subsection (1) of this section, committed in any of the following ways:

“(a) By deception obtains or exerts control over property of the owner;

“(b) By conduct heretofore defined or known as larceny; common law larceny by trick; embezzlement; extortion; obtaining property, money or labor under false pretenses; or receiving stolen goods;

“(c) By acquiring lost property. A person acquires lost property when he exercises control over property of another which he knows to have been lost or mislaid, or to have been delivered under a mistake as to the identity of the recipient or the nature or amount of the property, without taking reasonable measures to return such property to the owner; or a person commits theft of lost or mislaid property when he:

“1. Knows or learns the identity of the owner or knows, or is aware of, or learns of a reasonable method of identifying the owner; and

“2. Fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner; and

“3. Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property.”

If you do get something delivered to you that does not belong to you, the simplest answer is to contact the delivery company and let them know. Most delivery services can pick the item up from your house without you having to go anywhere. Besides, having them pick it up is much cheaper than the police picking you up for theft.

Officer down

Please put these officers, killed in the line of duty, and their families in your prayers. They fought the good fight, now may they rest in peace. God bless these heroes.

  • Lieutenant Matthew A. Vogel, Hudson County Sheriff, New Jersey
  • Deputy Sheriff Sean Riley, Wayne County Sheriff, Illinois
  • Sergeant Marlene Rittmanic, Bradley Police, Illinois

Have a question for Policeman Dan? Email your question(s) to or look for Ask Policemandan on Facebook and click the like button.

Dan Bristol is a retired police officer and former chief of police.


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