Every state has laws requiring the return of money or property if the owner is recognizable. This means that if you found money in a wallet you must return it; otherwise it is theft. The same goes for a bank bag that might have fallen off an armored truck. If you can locate the owner, you must return the money to its rightful owner or to the police. If you choose to keep found money when you know who the rightful owner is, it would be considered theft.
Keeping Found Money
If you find money on the street that cannot be identified as anyone's property, you should go to your local police department and turn in the sum while giving the department your information. Laws vary from county to county, but in every state your find will become yours if it is not claimed within a certain amount of time.
If you happen to come across a small amount of money on the street it is not necessary to take it to the police. Police departments will turn you away if you come in with five, 10 or 20 dollars you found on the street. It is just not worth the time of the officer to fill out paperwork for such a claim. Now, if you find this money and someone is walking around looking for it, it is illegal to simply take it and walk away, or to lie to them and say you have not seen it.
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