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Personal "eye opener" about this issue :
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 07, 2016 01:53PM
About 8 or 10 yrs. ago, I was metal detecting at Carmel Beach, which is near Monterey , CA. It's a city beach (as opposed to county or state, etc....) After leaving the wet sand, to walk back to my truck to leave for the day, I kept my machine on. Still detecting, while walking across the dry sand on my way out of the beach for the day. I got a signal, dug it up, and it was a pair of prescription glasses.

Naturally prescription glasses are of no value to anyone, except the person to whom they are prescribed. So when I got to the parking lot, sorting out my trash to prepare to throw in the garbage can, I also got ready to pitch the glasses in the garbage can too. But I looked a bit closer at them, and could see they were recently lost, and could see they were prescription, and could see they were sort of "high end". So I decided that rather than pitch them, I would run a C.L. "Found" ad. Not only for a "nice gesture", but also because sometimes the owner might tip the person who finds and returns them.

So that night, I posted to the CL "found" section, the following post: "Found prescription glasses on Carmel beach with metal detector. Reply to describe". That was all the ad said.

The next morning, I saw in my "in-box", that I had a reply. I opened it up, and saw that it was from a police officer at the Carmel police dept. They were asking if my glasses matched a certain description. And their inquiry stated that they had a person/tourist who had come into the station the previous day, reporting loss of glasses on the beach (filing a report, in case someone turned them in to lost & found). And the police, in -turn, had gone to the L&F section of CL, in case someone posted "found" glasses there. That's when they had seen my "found" ad.

Turns out it was not a match. The ones I had did not match what they were describing. So I emailed back a reply : "No. Sorry. These do not match that description".

I thought that was the end of the conversation. But no. I got yet another email back from this officer at the police dept. saying the following:

"Thanks for the reply concerning the glasses. And I'm sure you must find interesting things on the beach here. In the future, please bring all items to the dept., so as to be in compliance with the law. If the dept. is closed after hours, there is a night-slot in the door that you can slip items through. Because we frequently get reports for lost items here at the department " (this is a very touristy city)

When I read that, I was confused. I thought: what the heck does this lady officer mean by " .... to be in compliance with the law" ? :confused: So I started researching lost & found laws in CA. And .... CA's L&F laws are not much different than any other state. We have a threshold cut-off of items of "$100 or more", for when the person is supposed to turn it in to law enforcement. And after a waiting period (30 days?) you get it back, if no one claimed it. If the item is over $250 value, the police will run a L&F ad in a local circulating paper. If you want the item after 30 days (if no one claimed it), then you must pay for the cost of the ad that ran. Some states also charge you "storage" fees for the days it was there while waiting to see if someone claimed it. And states might have varying dollar thresholds of value of which triggers L&F laws to kick in.

These were born out of wandering cattle laws of the 1800s. So you can't merely take your neighbors cow that wandered out of a hole in the fence saying "finders keepers". Or if you find a mountain bike, or wads of cash that fell out of a Brinks armored car, then *obviously* it still belongs the owner, and you're under an obligation to turn it in.

And the law makes no allowance for you to perform your own repatriation attempts (ie.: CL found ads, or a paper pinned to a telephone pole, etc....). It strictly says to turn it in to the police for their steps. And the law makes no distinction on when YOU think the object was lost. Eg.: trying to second guess that a ring has been lost a long time , etc... Hence no matter how deep it was (evidencing having been there for awhile), you are still breaking the law by not turning it in. For example: depth of items on the beach often has no correlation to time-lost anyhow: Erosion can put items (coins, rings, etc...) from decades ago, right on top. Or conversely, a freshly lost zinc can be a foot deep ! Same for park turf: maybe you found it deep, but who's to say a gopher didn't put it down deep on a fluke ? In any case, the law makes no distinction. Just says all must be turned in.

And the law doesn't specify how items are to be valued. Ie.: do you go by melt value ? Pawn shop value ? Value when new ? It's silent on the subject. What's to stop someone from finding a low ball offer of $99 from some pawn shop, and thus claiming "gee, it's below the threshold, hence I'm not obligated to turn it in ?" Or what's to stop someone from finding a $500 apple phone, or $1000 tablet on a park bench, and claiming "gee it only has $1 of intrinsic plastic, silicone, copper, etc.... thus I'm under no obligation to turn it in ?" So asking a lawyer "how are things valued ?", he said "just turn it in to the police, and let them decide. Doh !

So getting back to my story: When the cop had told me to "turn in all items" (which I'm assuming they meant rings, glasses, valuables, etc...., not solo coins), I got the willies. Because I immediately knew that they now had my email address. And .... naturally .... like ALL OF US WHO METAL DETECT, I do not go to the police station with all my items.

And it worried me that perhaps I had put the "wheels in motion" for this cop to wonder "gee, all these guys with detectors on the beach, must be finding some goodies, and we never see any of them bring in their items". In other words, I might have "put up a flag on their radar" that perhaps previously had not crossed their mind (since my ad had said "found with metal detector".) And I wondered/worried that this might lead to a "no detecting" rule.

So after that, I have not run any more "found ads". Or if I did, I left out mention of "metal detector".

Heck, in the exact letter of the law, if you find something of value (that exceeds the $ value for your state) and run an ad, you are *already* in violation of the law, no matter HOW you found it (eyeballed it vs metal detected it, or however). And if you look at any city's CL L&F ads, you will frequently see persons who found various items of value (rings, glasses, cell phone, mountain bike, cash, etc....). And I suppose if some cops, in any city, wished to be anal, they could bust those persons for not turning things in to the police. Since, as I say, the law makes no provision for your own repatriation attempts.

And if you look at any metal detecting forum's "found" sections, (especially beach hunter forums), you will see no lack of md'rs proudly posting their latest show & tell rings, right ? How many of them do you think are trotting down to the police station to turn them in ? Thus technically all of us are violating the md'r code of ethics to "follow and obey all laws". Yet I don't see any LEO's trolling md'ing finds forums, to bust those people. It wouldn't be hard to identify them, track them down, and throw the cuffs on them. Yet obviously it's not happening, so it's of low concern. Yet technically we're all in violation.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: pasttom
Date: December 07, 2016 02:18PM
After several years detecting and better than half a century observing, I have NEVER seen a police or related organization make any effort to locate the owner of a lost item. As a taxpaying citizen I'd be furious if they left their law enforcement mandate to do so. I understand fencing stolen jewelry can look like selling finds, but there are some rather significant distinctions.
How about the DA's office running a sting checking the PD's integrity? Unless there is a case of abuse its all misguided, wasteful a bit malicious- just like going after us for possessing our rightful finds.
2 cents more for my humble opinion. :thumbup:

Pastor Tom
6 Minelabs (7 when Equinox arrives Thursday and the rest become obsolete), 3 Makros, 2 TDIs and some others
Excavations by my Corgi, Sadie

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Sanderling
Date: December 07, 2016 03:32PM
Hmmm...wonder what would happen if all of us turned in our valuable finds to the PD on a weekly basis. I would think they would soon be overwhelmed. I have never been approached by law enforcement about anything I have found on the beach or anywhere else. Seems like If it is fun or makes you feel good make it illegal.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 08, 2016 09:51AM
After several years detecting and better than half a century observing, I have NEVER seen a police or related organization make any effort to locate the owner of a lost item. .....

Past-tom: If there were glaringly obvious identifications on/it (a name on a driver's lic. inside of a turned-in found wallet, for instance), I'm sure they'd make this easy step. But when it comes to items that are absolutely seemingly random (wads of cash, a ring with no inscriptions, etc.....), then how do you expect them to make efforts ? They're hands seem pretty much tied.

And when it comes to more strenuous exercises (studying codes of insurance mark inscriptions ? abbreviations on class rings ?). It's a slippery slope of how much effort they should be expected to expend (they don't exactly have personnel researchers brimming out of their staff payrolls, and are admittedly probably trying to solve murders etc.... with their resources/time at hand.) . Thus the only "effort" the LEO dept's would be required to take, is to post a "found" ad in a local newspaper publication. And it's up to the person who LOST the item to come in , to inquire "has such & such been found please?"

In CA, if an item is between $100 to $249 value, the police just house the item in their lost & found dept. If the item is $250 value or more, they run a "found ad". You know, .... those micro-print "legal notices" in the back of newspaper classified sections that no one ever reads :rolleyes: It will be generic . Eg.: "Item of jewelry found on 3rd street in such & such city. Come describe at such & such police station". And the individual will have to come describe the item, or show some sort of proof, etc....

.... How about the DA's office running a sting checking the PD's integrity?....

I have often wondered how successful an md'r would be, to go into a police dept. 30 days after turning in our valuables-we-find, to actually GET the object back. What I mean is, what's to stop them from saying "the object's owner came in and claimed it" ? The md'r certainly can't ask "who claimed it?". Because that would violate privacy laws, right ? But was it really claimed ? Or simply a case of a police dept. that doesn't want to be bothered with trivial matters?

And if you turned in a Rolex watch worth $5k that you found on the beach, what's to stop that front desk police clerk from calling his cousin Bob on the 29th day, and saying "Hey Bob, want a nice Rolex? Come to station and describe a such & such rolex, that you lost on such & such day, at such & such beach, with the following characteristics...." And later, when you come in to claim your item (if the owner didn't claim it), they are under no obligation to tell you who claimed the item.

I know that sounds dastardly, but in the eyes of the police:

a) what have you lost ? NOTHING. It was never "yours" to begin with. So how have you been harmed ??

b) you turned it in to the police fully expecting/knowing that it might be claimed by the owner.

c) the odds are, that the vast majority of persons who turn stuff in to L&F never come back to see if it was claimed. So probably 99% of the items just end up in police auctions, lockers, storage, etc....... So a desk clerk might be thinking "what's the harm ?"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2016 09:51AM by Tom_in_CA.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: pasttom
Date: December 08, 2016 04:31PM
I am not being critical of the police in this, I just think it is nonsense to ask them to be a lost and found monitor. My sting comment is not to question their ethics, just to point the lack of check and balance oversight making it a worst practices structure.
Most of my finds are clearly years past lost and I will do more to find the owner if there is any id markings than any third party. I just find the mindset that the 'authorities' must control everything unAmerican and offensive. I think we are on the same page.

Pastor Tom
6 Minelabs (7 when Equinox arrives Thursday and the rest become obsolete), 3 Makros, 2 TDIs and some others
Excavations by my Corgi, Sadie

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 08, 2016 04:56PM
Ok. I thought you were hinting/thinking some unscrupulous personnel might pocket an item.

But now that I understand what you were saying : Yes, no doubt we md'rs would make a better effort at finding an owner. Like the way we have perpetual stories of re-united class rings: I wonder if a police dept. would go to that level of research ? Takes calls , matching yearbook pix to initials, tracking down maiden names to married names, finding current addresses and #s, etc....

Also some really high end larger diamonds have laser microscopic inscriptions. Only jewelers with special equipment can know where they're located, and have the equipment to read them. And cross-reference a serial # to an insurance co, or the diamond mine where it was mined from , to trace down the line to the buyer, etc..... I wonder if cops would go to that level of scrutiny trying to match up insurance #'s , unless it was blatantly obvious inscribed ?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2016 04:57PM by Tom_in_CA.

Re: Personal "eye opener" about this issue :
Posted by: Champ Ferguson
Date: December 08, 2016 05:11PM
Tom/CA, thanks for taking the time to post your incident. I believe I better understand where you are coming from now. We've differed in the past re asking LE about any existing MD laws but I am more in sympathy with you after reading your story. I also sense a cultural difference in where you are and the South (usa).I think people here are less inclined to try to be persnickety about trivial laws and more of the Do Whats Right frame of mind. The only cop who has ever done anything more than wave at me while I was detecting was just coming over to see if I was having any luck. Turns out he was a detectorist too and had hunted the same park I was in.

One thing I would recommend tho; never use your 'real' email when contacting anyone outside your circle of close friends. Theres tons of free email services on the net.

Minelab CTX
Minelab Excalibur II
Minelab Safari

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: "Carolina"
Date: December 10, 2016 01:00PM
Here in Virginia, I have no trouble with my expensive finds, cause I keep my mouth shut !!! Class rings go back if possible. Appraisers only know I want an appraisal. Nothing more nothing less. Good luck to all !

Minelab CTX, Minelab Excalibur ll, Minelab Excalibur 1000, Minelab Excalibur Sword
Whites Dual Field, Vallon VMH3CS, Makro Multi Kruzer

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: JamesBondaka
Date: December 11, 2016 12:04AM
I think Tom in ca is mostly right. If I may so say...There are laws on the books for mostly anything and everything they may be outdated or not enforced but necessarily are there it to be enforced in the worst case scenario....or when they deem necessary. If you know its not yours....its not right to keep it....or legal in most cases. In regard to metal detecting...I think the case has been argued and could be argued that its been buried it the ground. For the sake of argument, say its been lost for 100 years.....who is going to claim it???And that's the problem, who is to say exactly how long its been lost??? No one can say....that's the thing about metal detecting.....its not an exact science nor does it give any guarantees about what you will find....and when. As my profile signature says....."If metal detecting made perfect sense. everyone would do it"!

The fact that one "gambles" every time they metal detect means that sometimes you find something and sometimes you don't. If it was Guaranteed you would find major or profitable finds every time you metal detect....there would be strict laws about metal detecting....everywhere!

If you find a coin.....there is absolutely no way they can trace or identify one from another....that's why there is generally no buy/sell regulations on those transactions. The same thing would apply to a lot of jewelry found. There would be exceptions. So, to say some authorities have a "crystal ball" and can determine one ring from just cant be most cases. I think even they would admit that fact but in their "wisdom" would like to be able to decide that with their legal prudence.

As for the authorities, keeping the profits or a portion there of.....thank your politicians for devising that well as others. The law makers are always thinking of new ways to created funds/revenue without having it a tax. So, is another way to accomplish what they want. The authorities always say that they don't have the manpower(woman power i.e. PC) to do IMPORTANT things , so why should they have the time to investigate metal detecting???
TSA also confiscates millions of dollars of items every year......who gets the profits??? They do. That's the problem, whom is going to watch who's hand is in the cookie jar to speak. When they make a profit from items they take for you....and no clear guidelines and what to hard for them to decide what's right and what's wrong. Think of it this way, Police have locker rooms to store their items in a secure location.....why do they need locks on their lockers???????? They should not need them....but they do.

I think unless an item or find is a lot of money, reasonably identifiable and/or lost recently....I don't think you would be prosecuted for finding something that no one can positively identify, as theirs. Especially, if it has been buried in the ground, for who knows, how long.

................................*.................In Oregon, I will find a million dollars, one penny at a time!............Viva la diggo.................*.........................................

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If the hobby of metal detecting made perfect sense...everyone would do it~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

V3i ExpSe Xlt F75 Umax Dfx Mxt Gmt Ace ETrac 505 Gold & Coinmaster Deleon Mpx Prizm II Cz5/3D Goldengate 3D BH300 Ctx Jeohunter Tm-808

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/11/2016 12:33AM by JamesBondaka.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Dancer
Date: December 11, 2016 04:35AM
You guys see / remember a few years ago. A Armored car going down the highway, rear door flys open. Money starts rolling out. People flocked like birds on the beach. How many got prosecuted? Maybe no one.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Gord (Tecumseh)
Date: December 11, 2016 02:52PM
So what happens when they find the person who lost the ring and who has already filed an insurance claim that has been paid-out? Do they turn the ring over to the insurance company? Sure can get complicated can't it?

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 12, 2016 10:15AM
In that case, the insurance Co. would get the ring.

Valuable coins might not be exempt in some cases:
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 12, 2016 10:43AM
It would be easy for us to say that a 1909 S vdb cent is worth "1 cent". And a 1916 D mercury dime is worth "10 cents", etc.... To thus be outside the scope of laws to turn in items over a certain value criteria. And we would also justify ourselves by noting that it's also been buried for ~100 yrs, so the person who lost it is long-since gone .

So NONE of us would turn in valuable coins (even though worth over the lost & found criteria threshold). Right ?

But consider the following true story:

A retired guy in a city near me, took up detecting, as a way to get exercise. He was just a sandbox and tot-lot type hunter. Just an excuse to get out and walk during his retirement years. He made a route of all the parks and schools in his area of the county, and made sport of hitting a few each weekend, such that by the end of the month, he'd worked them all. Just accumulating clad change, with the occasional ring or whatever.

One day he was working a sandbox at a school that was blt. in the late 1930s. He got a couple of very old coins. Like a seated quarter, a bust half, and so forth. But since he wasn't a coin collector, he didn't really know his old coin ID's. And he assumed these were gimmicks or fake, or tokens or something. He threw them into his box with his other finds.

A few days later, a buddy of his was over at his house shooting the breeze. They were looking through his latest finds, when the friend saw the older coins. He knew his old coin ID's, and told his friend that these were very much real, and .... valuable. Asked "where did you find these ?". So the two of them decided to go try this sandbox more. They got a few more key date valuable old coins ! After multiple more hunts, they had ended up with something like 8 to 10 key coins. Like silver dollars, bust halves, seated quarters, and so forth. They were besides themselves with glee.

But confusion set in: Because obviously, the school was not old enough for these coins to be there ! So they formulated the theory that the SAND in the sandbox must've come from the beach (this school is only 1 mile from the beach). And during a sand replenishment project recently (bring in clean sand to replace old sand) the coins must've been in the sand that came from the beach ! What a grand stroke of luck, eh ?

After awhile, they could find no more coins in the sand box. So one of the men wandered out of the sandbox, and was hunting the tall grass along a border. He got a signal, parted the grass, and .... barely 1/2" down under the surface, was ANOTHER key old USA coin. So the two men started hunting all the grass around the sandbox and school yard, and found another 6 or 7 old coins. Hence, all-told, they had something like 15+ key date numismatic old USA coins now.

But this sort of threw their theory of the "beach sand" out the window. Since these coins were coming from the grass. Doh. So they hatched a new theory: That this location where the school was built, must've been an early 1800's camp or watering hole spot, on an old travel route. And that the modern school must've been built over the spot. They rationalized this because the old El Camino Reale (route between the CA missions) passed by only a mere 1000 ft. away.

One day, 1 of the 2 men was hunting alone. An after school janitor spotted him, and walked out to talk to him. Told the md'r: "If you find any old coins.... and I mean OLD coins, let me know." The md'r asked the janitor why he was saying that. The janitor explained that : A few semesters earlier , a nerdy loaner 3rd grade student had brought his dad's coin collection to school for show & tell (without his dad's permission or knowledge) . And then, during recess, had proceeded to pass out the coins to classmates, to "make friends". And the kids, not knowing one coin from other (treating them like play money or tokens), had simply gone and lost a bunch on the playground.

A few days later, when the dad realized what had happened, he went to the school principle. The principle, in turn, marched the father and son into the classroom, where all were made to stand at attention. The children were told that those coins should not have been passed out, and that they were to return any coins they'd been given. A few coins got returned, by kids who happened to still have them. But the rest either denied having gotten any, or said they no longer had theirs, or whatever.

As the md'r heard the janitor's story, it IMMEDIATELY became clear what the origination source of their coins had been. Doh !

Ok: You tell me: Who do the coins belong to: The md'rs ? Or the coin collector ? And if you were the coin collector, and got wind of the fact that some yahoo md'r had "your" coins, wouldn't you feel like they'd had an obligation to turn them in ?

I don't know if the md'r revealed to the janitor that they did, in fact, have a bunch of the coins. So I'm not sure what followed. But you can see this brings up various layers of legal ramifications, eh ?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2016 10:46AM by Tom_in_CA.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: biglry
Date: December 12, 2016 11:34AM
Personally... if after checking out the janitors story and if finding it to be 100% true I would return all coins I had found in that school yard to the father as I feel that is what my moral compass requires I do. We all have to decide where our personal integrity over rides our innate desire to keep what we find when detecting. I personally try and locate every piece of found jewelry's previous owner if possible, just something I do. I'm into it for the hunt the find is a bonus and a return if possible, is a joy to me.

Metal Detecting is my drug of choice.
I get high with an Equinox 800, two Excalibur ll with 10" slim-line coils, Excalibur 1000 with 10" BBS, Mr. Gold's phones, Plugger carbon fiber shafts, Sov GT with Patrick meter mod & S12 coil. Last, but not least a Tesoro Cibola with a 11x8 Delta DD coil.

Integrity is what we do when we think no one is looking.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2016 11:35AM by biglry.

Re: FLORIDA LAW regarding found jewelry
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 12, 2016 12:05PM
I agree. But take it a step further: Wasn't it your obligation to have turned them in to the police, after first having found them?

If the father in that story had filed a "lost" report with the police, and you were later found with their possession, you can be charged with theft. Even if you'd never had the meeting with the janitor to have known the story.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2016 12:06PM by Tom_in_CA.

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