The Honolulu Police Department has identified a man seen on surveillance video taking an iPhone from a store in Kapolei.
Police said it happened on Dec. 12, 2014, at approximately 4:50 p.m. after a woman left her phone on the counter while shopping.
Store surveillance showed a man walking by the counter and taking the phone.
On Thursday, police released the footage and the man returned the phone later that evening. He was not arrested.
Sgt. Kim Buffett of CrimeStoppers said the man was lucky. “At this time, the complainant felt that it wasn’t necessary to prosecute,” she said. “Normally, in any type of theft case, if the complainant is willing to prosecute, he will be arrested, but I think at this point, she felt that he turned himself in and gave back the phone.”
According to Buffett, there is no such thing as finders keepers. If you keep that property, it’s considered theft.
“If somebody leaves something behind, no matter where they are, in the bathroom, on a counter, anywhere, and you’re the next person in line and you see it and you take it, it’s still a theft and it’s punishable,” she said.
Police say in this case, it’s felony crime that could you behind bars for five years or more.
“This is a felony. A phone is theft. Over $300 becomes a felony. So the phones nowadays are mostly over $300,” said Buffett.
Local defense attorney Victor Bakke says every crime has two parts: a physical act or the intent or state of mind.
“So to just pick up somebody’s phone that was lost is not a crime, but if you have the intent to make that property your own when you know it belongs to somebody else, even if you don’t know whose it is, as long as it’s somebody else’s property, then that intent is what makes it a crime when you combine it with the actual act,” said Bakke.
Police say if you find property that isn’t yours, call 9-1-1 or turn it in to the nearest police station. If you are in a store, turn it in to customer service.
§708-830 Theft. A person commits theft if the person does any of the following…
(3) A person obtains, or exerts control over, the property of another that the person knows to have been lost or mislaid or to have been delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property, the identity of the recipient, or other facts, and, with the intent to deprive the owner of the property, the person fails to take reasonable measures to discover and notify the owner.
§52D-14 Duty and right of finders. (a) Except as provided in section 261-17.7, all money or property found shall be reported or delivered by the finder to the chief of police of the county. When so delivered, it shall be held by the chief of police for forty-five days or until claimed by some person who establishes title or right of custody thereto to the satisfaction of the chief of police. If title or right of custody is established, the money or property shall be delivered to the claimant by the chief of police.
(b) If no claim is made or no such right is established within the forty-five days, the money or property shall be returned to the person who delivered it to the chief of police; provided that if the person who delivered it to the chief of police fails to claim the money or property within thirty days after being notified by the chief of police that the person is entitled to possession, the chief of police shall dispose of the money or property in accordance with the procedures established in section 52D-10. For the purpose of this section, notice by regular mail to the person’s last known address shall be sufficient. [L 1989, c 136, pt of §2]