Finders Keepers? Man Takes $30K Ring Left on Bathroom Floor, Arrested for Theft

Finders keepers, losers weepers. That’s how the saying goes, anyway. Unfortunately for a man in Palm Beach County, the Florida criminal justice system doesn’t quite work that way. diamondring

According to The Sun Sentinel, a woman shopping at Neiman Marcus in Palm Beach stepped into a unisex bathroom when duty called. As she washed her hands, she slipped off a $30,000 diamond ring and placed it on the counter. And then, the Vero Beach made a colossal mistake: She forgot it.

She walked out of the bathroom and soon therefore, police reported, Joseph Tursi walked in. The 58-year-old New York native reportedly pocketed the ring and made no attempt to turn it into store personnel. The 31-year-old alleged victim reportedly didn’t realize her error until she got into her car about 10 minutes later. She put her hands on the steering wheel and then started to panic. She went back to the bathroom to search for the 3-carat diamond ring, but it was nowhere to be seen.

Sobbing, she located the store security guard and asked if he could review the security video. He complied and spotted only one man leaving the restroom during that time. The two soon realized that man was still in the store. Together with the security guard, the alleged victim confronted the man, later identified as Tursi. As the victim would later recall to a reporter, Tursi at first denied he had taken the ring. He insisted he had just washed his hands. But the victim and the security guard would later tell police Tursi was shaking and seemed nervous.

The victim’s sister-in-law called 911 and a police officer responded. He found Tursi near the entrance of the store and stopped him from leaving. The officer questioned him about the ring, and Tursi at that point reportedly seemed nervous. He denied several times that he had the ring. Then he spontaneously admitted he had it and handed it over, wrapped in a wad of paper towels.

But our Palm Beach defense attorneys know the fact that he ultimately gave the ring back did not absolve him of his alleged crime. He was arrested and charged with grand theft. He was released from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting $10,000 bond.

F.S. 812.014 is Florida’s law on theft. The statute defines theft as knowingly obtaining or using or endeavoring to obtain or use property of another with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive someone of  the right to their property or appropriate the property for his or her own use when not entitled to do so. A person who steals items valued at between $20,000 and $100,000 commit grand theft, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Florida law specifically requires individuals to report lost or abandoned property. F.S. 705.102 holds that anytime a person finds lost or abandoned property, the person must report the description and location to a law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer at that point will ascertain whether the person reporting the property wants to make a claim to it if the rightful owner can’t be found or identified. If they do, the person has to leave a “reasonable sum” deposit with the department to cover the cost of storage, transportation and publication of notice. The sum will be reimbursed to the finder if the rightful owner is found. It is expressly against the law to appropriate lost or abandoned property or refuse to deliver it when asked. In such cases, the defendant will face theft charges, as outlined in F.S. 812.014 .

Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Woman accidentally leaves $30k ring in Palm Beach store bathroom for a few minutes, and man steals it, police say, June 1, 2016, By Adam Sacasa, Sun Sentinel

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Miami Woman Kills Teen Burglar, Charges Mulled, May 31, 2016, Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog

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