City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385

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Juneau Police Department

Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"

Q. What are the rules if someone finds something valuable on public property that appears to be either lost or abandoned? Is it "finders keepers, losers weepers"? Can the finder sell it without first trying to reunite the item with its owner?

Dear Juneau Resident,

The law does not endorse "Finders keepers" until certain steps have been taken. It is a crime to keep property of value that does not belong to you. All you have to know is that you are not the legitimate owner and you have met an element of the crime. You can still be charged with theft.

You need to report the property to JPD or turn in the property so that efforts can be made to find the rightful owner. Not that you are totally out of luck. If no owner can be found you may very well end up with the property as long as it is something legal for you to have in your possession. If the owner is not found, you can claim whatever it is you found by notifying JPD in writing once 90 days for property or 6 months for cash has passed.


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