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  #1  
Old 02-06-2013, 8:27 AM
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Exclamation My friend found a Ruger. What can we do?

My friend recently found an old Ruger 10/22 in the attic of a house he just moved into. He tried contacting the previous owner, but hasn't had any luck tracking him down. His first thought was to throw it the trash, but decided not to because it's just not the responsible thing to do. Is there a way to track down the owner by the serial number? or can he transfer it so that it legally becomes his? If all else fails he's willing to turn it in to the Police Department. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2013, 9:09 AM
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The original owner obviously wasnt responsible enough to own it. That would be pretty neat if he can legally have it transferred to himself. I wish him luck.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2013, 9:12 AM
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I'm not sure that any record would be kept on a rifle that would require a "transfer".
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Old 02-06-2013, 9:18 AM
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Sounds to me like your friend has a new rifle. I would recommend having the serial number checked to ensure its not stolen but other than that, I think he has done his due diligence. Assuming, of course, your friend is not a prohibited person.
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Old 02-06-2013, 9:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdarrin@sbcglobal.net View Post
Sounds to me like your friend has a new rifle. I would recommend having the serial number checked to ensure its not stolen but other than that, I think he has done his due diligence. Assuming, of course, your friend is not a prohibited person.
What he said!
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:10 AM
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Congrats! I wish I was lucky enough to find guns
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdarrin@sbcglobal.net View Post
Sounds to me like your friend has a new rifle. I would recommend having the serial number checked to ensure its not stolen but other than that, I think he has done his due diligence. Assuming, of course, your friend is not a prohibited person.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IA300 View Post
What he said!
WRONG ANSWER! You are obviously not law enforcement, so why don't you stop posting in the LE forum when you don't have a clue.

This is "found property" and misappropriation of found property is legally considered theft under 485 PC. The theft of any firearm, regardless of the value, is considered Grand Theft, a felony.

The stupid move you suggested is encouraging someone to commit a felony.

The OP needs to turn it in to the local police, who will determine its status. If it is not stolen or determined to have been involved in criminal activity, the OP can file a claim to recover it.

Is it really worth risking your freedom over a rifle that can easily be picked up used for less than $200 all the time?
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:15 AM
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How would he go about checking the serial number to see if it was stolen?
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:18 AM
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OP listen to Ron-Solo.. he knows his stuff. Report it to local police or gun buy back program at worse case. Do not try to keep it before reporting it to your local police first.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:22 AM
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As Ron Solo said, take it to your local law enforcement office, explain the situation and they will take the ball from there. Bad juju if you try to do the investigation yourself.
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G17Warrior View Post
How would he go about checking the serial number to see if it was stolen?
Call the police department that covers that area and advise them you have a found firearm. They will give you a receipt and instructions on the procedures for claiming found property.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdarrin@sbcglobal.net View Post
Sounds to me like your friend has a new rifle. I would recommend having the serial number checked to ensure its not stolen but other than that, I think he has done his due diligence. Assuming, of course, your friend is not a prohibited person.
I second that!

What Luck! The only thing I ever find that previous owners/tenants left behind and toxic chemicals and dead car batteries!
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
WRONG ANSWER! You are obviously not law enforcement, so why don't you stop posting in the LE forum when you don't have a clue.

This is "found property" and misappropriation of found property is legally considered theft under 485 PC. The theft of any firearm, regardless of the value, is considered Grand Theft, a felony.

The stupid move you suggested is encouraging someone to commit a felony.

The OP needs to turn it in to the local police, who will determine its status. If it is not stolen or determined to have been involved in criminal activity, the OP can file a claim to recover it.

Is it really worth risking your freedom over a rifle that can easily be picked up used for less than $200 all the time?
California Penal Code Section 485

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Penal Code > California Penal Code Section 485

One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him
knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner
, and who
appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another
person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just
efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is
guilty of theft.


OP already stated that he found it abandoned in his house and unsure who owns it.

Last edited by Superduper2013; 02-06-2013 at 10:43 AM.. Reason: fixed grammer
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
WRONG ANSWER! You are obviously not law enforcement, so why don't you stop posting in the LE forum when you don't have a clue.

This is "found property" and misappropriation of found property is legally considered theft under 485 PC. The theft of any firearm, regardless of the value, is considered Grand Theft, a felony.

The stupid move you suggested is encouraging someone to commit a felony.

The OP needs to turn it in to the local police, who will determine its status. If it is not stolen or determined to have been involved in criminal activity, the OP can file a claim to recover it.

Is it really worth risking your freedom over a rifle that can easily be picked up used for less than $200 all the time?
Good advice as to the thoroughness of the process. Having the SN checked would require him to take the gun to the locals.
That being said, 485 also specifically states, "finding lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge or means of inquiry as to the true owner...without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property..."
Hence the due diligence portion of drdarrins statement.
Sorry to offend you, I took a shorter version of the same advice you gave.
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:48 AM
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sounds like he has already made reasonable attempts.

Not only that, did his friend by the house? Wouldn't he be the owner of any property found inside.

If they left a dining room table, is that theft?

What about a garden hose or tools?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superduper2013 View Post
California Penal Code Section 485

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Penal Code > California Penal Code Section 485

One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him
knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner
, and who
appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another
person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just
efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is
guilty of theft.



OP already stated that he found it abandoned in his house and unsure who owns it.
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:51 AM
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and if the OP was talking bout a table or garden hose your point would be valid.
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:52 AM
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Are we sure it was "found"? If the contract between he (the buyer) and the previous owner (the seller) says he's entitled to all property left behind in the home, then he didn't "find" it. He bought it. Which, I guess would mean an illegal transfer took place unless the gun is 50+ years or older, correct?

So, what does his contract say about property left behind?
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:55 AM
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sorry, I don't know penal codes....based on your post I am guessing that the penal code posted is specifically about guns or weapons and not property in general.

if that is the case, then you are right, my point is not valid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laythor View Post
and if the OP was talking bout a table or garden hose your point would be valid.
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredridge View Post
sorry, I don't know penal codes....based on your post I am guessing that the penal code posted is specifically about guns or weapons and not property in general.

if that is the case, then you are right, my point is not valid.
It is not specific to guns it is specific to lost property. It is PC 485 cited by Ron Solo
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:59 AM
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Thanks to everyone who chimed in, but it sounds like the best course of action is to take to our local police station as Ron-Solo suggested. Now we just have to find a cheap case for the thing so, that we dont scare anybody when we walk up.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G17Warrior View Post
Thanks to everyone who chimed in, but it sounds like the best course of action is to take to our local police station as Ron-Solo suggested. Now we just have to find a cheap case for the thing so, that we dont scare anybody when we walk up.
LOL yeah, walking into a police station carrying a rifle could make a very bad day
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredridge View Post
sounds like he has already made reasonable attempts.

Not only that, did his friend by the house? Wouldn't he be the owner of any property found inside.

If they left a dining room table, is that theft?

What about a garden hose or tools?
Ya except for that really important one like running the serial number to see if it has been reported stolen/lost.
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  #23  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IA300 View Post
Good advice as to the thoroughness of the process. Having the SN checked would require him to take the gun to the locals.
That being said, 485 also specifically states, "finding lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge or means of inquiry as to the true owner...without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property..."
Hence the due diligence portion of drdarrins statement.
Sorry to offend you, I took a shorter version of the same advice you gave.
As of yet, there as been no due diligence. Trying to contact the previous owner of the house does not satisfy that requirement.

The police will attempt to locate the owner of the firearm via an ATF trace from the manufacturer to the dealer that last sold it. From there, the police will attempt to contact that person. When that runs in to a dead end, due diligence will have been satisfied, and the OP can file his claim.

The OP asked for the proper and legal method to take ownership of the rifle. That is it. Everything else falls short and subjects him to legal risks that could cost him his freedom, right to own guns, and lots more money than buying a new rifle would cost.

I can't believe how many members here would skirt the process and place themselves at risk like that. Some ethics are seriously lacking sometimes.

Some of the "advice" given here wouldn't even fly in "off topic" where misinformation is plentiful.

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
Call the police department that covers that area and advise them you have a found firearm. They will give you a receipt and instructions on the procedures for claiming found property.
THIS. Ron, this thread has been reported so any non-LE here should be cleared out shortly.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G17Warrior View Post
Thanks to everyone who chimed in, but it sounds like the best course of action is to take to our local police station as Ron-Solo suggested. Now we just have to find a cheap case for the thing so, that we dont scare anybody when we walk up.
Leave it in the trunk of the car, unloaded of course, and contact the desk officer when you get there. They will come out to the car and make sure the rifle is safe. I did it many times over the years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagearms View Post
THIS. Ron, this thread has been reported so any non-LE here should be cleared out shortly.
Yep, it amazes me how many people come in and advocate the commission of a criminal act. I think stuff like tat should get a "time out" assigned to the offending party.
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  #26  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:20 AM
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Ron, can you take a look at my question? Sincerely curious as to the answer, although I 100% agree turning it in and filing a claim is the right call no matter what.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJ View Post
Ron, can you take a look at my question? Sincerely curious as to the answer, although I 100% agree turning it in and filing a claim is the right call no matter what.
Swapping one criminal act for another doesn't make it any better. Unless you could contact the owner and confirm that he intentionally left the firearm in the house, you would be hard pressed to convince anyone that it was just an illegal transfer rather than misappropriation of found property.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:44 AM
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No. It doesn't make it any better.

However, forgetting its a firearm for a minute, the PC you quote applies to found property in general. In the case where the contract specifies all left behind property transfers to the buyer, nothing is "found" and therefore there's no need to convince anyone of anything. Homes are sold this way all the time, especially these days with so many foreclosures. "As is", for example.

And if the gun is 50+ years old, then no crime was committed at all. The difference could be no crime vs (as you point out) a felony.

Again though I will say I personally would turn it in and file a claim with the PD if the gun was worth keeping. I guess I'm just asking if there's the possibility the PC you quote doesn't apply here.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:56 PM
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Yep, definitely a good idea.

just trying to understand myself and thinking specifically about the idea of him being the one who stole based on the PC that was posted.

I did not realized that reasonable was defined specifically as running a serial number

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrist View Post
Ya except for that really important one like running the serial number to see if it has been reported stolen/lost.
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Old 02-06-2013, 2:24 PM
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Actually I believe there is a specific Penal code or B&P section relating to "finding" a firearm, and the duty to report it.

I just can't find it right now....
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  #31  
Old 02-06-2013, 7:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
WRONG ANSWER! You are obviously not law enforcement, so why don't you stop posting in the LE forum when you don't have a clue.

This is "found property" and misappropriation of found property is legally considered theft under 485 PC. The theft of any firearm, regardless of the value, is considered Grand Theft, a felony.

The stupid move you suggested is encouraging someone to commit a felony.

The OP needs to turn it in to the local police, who will determine its status. If it is not stolen or determined to have been involved in criminal activity, the OP can file a claim to recover it.

Is it really worth risking your freedom over a rifle that can easily be picked up used for less than $200 all the time?
Quite right, I am not law enforcement. My apologies if I have given someone bad advice.

My response was based on my own personal experience in another state, some years ago. I did find a firearm. I did not know the law so I did what I thought was reasonable and proper.

I did my due diligence by taking it to local law enforcement and explained the circumstances surrounding it being in my possession. They ran the serial number and returned it to me immediately. That firearm, a shotgun, has been in my possession ever since.

Following this same, more verbose, advice I think would put the OP's friend in good standing with the law of this state as well. Would it not? Of course, the out come in his instance may be different or require more paperwork than mine did.
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Old 02-06-2013, 7:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MigNoche View Post
Congrats! I wish I was lucky enough to find guns
Me too!
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Old 02-06-2013, 7:59 PM
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Default None of this is legal advice.

CA Jury Instructions:
Authority:
(Penal Code ß 485)
[Defendant is accused [in Count[s] ] of having violated section 485 of the Penal Code, a crime.]
Every person who finds lost property under circumstances which give him or her knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates that property to his or her own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property, is guilty of theft in violation of Penal Code section 485.
In order to prove this crime, each of the following elements must be proved:
1 A person found lost property;
2 The circumstances of the finding gave the finder knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner;
3 The finder failed to make reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the lost property; and
4 The finder appropriated the lost property to [his] [or] [her] own use, or to the use of another person not entitled to that use.

The OP is a little sketchy on the details of the attempts to contact the owner, whom we are assuming is the prior owner of the house, but elements 1, 2, and 4 are probably met if he keeps the rifle. While there is certainly no statute requiring it, the safest thing would seem to be following Ron-Solo's advice. Otherwise he risks a jury trial over the "reasonableness" of the attempts to find the owner.
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Old 02-06-2013, 8:46 PM
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I agree with Ron Solo and Tincon... When the item has a serial number that is almost universally known to usually lead police to its rightful owner, I don't think you can claim due diligence and not turn it in. Besides, it probably won't come back to anyone/anything anyway and it can still be claimed!
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Old 02-06-2013, 8:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
As of yet, there as been no due diligence. Trying to contact the previous owner of the house does not satisfy that requirement.

The police will attempt to locate the owner of the firearm via an ATF trace from the manufacturer to the dealer that last sold it. From there, the police will attempt to contact that person. When that runs in to a dead end, due diligence will have been satisfied, and the OP can file his claim.

The OP asked for the proper and legal method to take ownership of the rifle. That is it. Everything else falls short and subjects him to legal risks that could cost him his freedom, right to own guns, and lots more money than buying a new rifle would cost.

I can't believe how many members here would skirt the process and place themselves at risk like that. Some ethics are seriously lacking sometimes.

Some of the "advice" given here wouldn't even fly in "off topic" where misinformation is plentiful.

Last sold it? You mean first sold it, correct?
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Old 02-06-2013, 9:07 PM
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ATF will attempt to trace it as far as they can, which can extend past the first owner.
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  #37  
Old 02-06-2013, 9:14 PM
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Originally Posted by drdarrin@sbcglobal.net View Post
Last sold it? You mean first sold it, correct?
They will start with the first dealer, and go as far as they can. Sometimes guns go thru multiple dealers, but they will want to end up at the last transaction if possible. We said the same thing in different ways.
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Old 02-06-2013, 9:23 PM
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Originally Posted by G17Warrior View Post
Thanks to everyone who chimed in, but it sounds like the best course of action is to take to our local police station as Ron-Solo suggested. Now we just have to find a cheap case for the thing so, that we dont scare anybody when we walk up.
DO NOT just walk in holding a gun or having it in a case CALL your local pds non emergency # tell them you found a gun they will tell you when to come down when you do go down to your pd DO NOT bring it in leave it locked in your trunk Go in talk to someone to notify you have gun to turn in a LEO will follow you out and get it out of your car
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Old 02-07-2013, 7:51 AM
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*Final Update*
Again I was posting this for a friend and we were asking for LEO advice, which we got. Since the original post my friend took the riffle to his local PD. They took possesion and ran the serial number while he was there and said it wasn't reported stolen. According to them this sort of thing happens all time. They didn't mention anything about filing a claim but got all of his vitals and said they would be in touch.
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Old 02-07-2013, 7:59 AM
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It's really simple - Your friend's real estate agent can contact the home's former owner
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