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You are equally a thief as the pickpocket

Armedrobbers Laptops File photo of stolen gadgets

Sun, 7 Feb 2021 Source: Rockson Adofo

In some countries in the world, both in the Far East and Middle East, one cannot avail him or herself of a missing but found wallet, purse, money or valuable.

If you find any valuable of which I have mentioned a few, on the floor in any public place or elsewhere, and as long as they don't belong to you but try to keep them, you are considered as a thief in some countries.

A thief is a person who steals, especially secretly or without open force. A thief commits a theft. And, a theft in criminal law is "the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession or use"

In England, when you find a wallet or any valuable outside on the floor, you have to take it to the police. That is the law, although some people may decide to keep them, thinking they have got a windfall out of the abundance of God's grace upon them and God's answer to their prayers for prosperity. No, it is theft if you keep it.

However, if you take it to the police, you will be issued a receipt and after three months if nobody, thus the owner, goes to claim it, and the police having no means to contact the owner, the finder can go back and claim it. If it is money, you will pay a small percentage of it as tax to the government.

In a situation where someone unknowingly drops off their mobile phone (cell phone) on say, a public transport (passenger bus, taxi or train) and you find it but decide to keep it after the owner has made several attempts to trace the phone with you answering such many calls made to the phone, but refusing to give it back to the owner, you a thief.

There is no difference between you and the ordinary pickpocket, this is what I mean. Such a person, if you were to be in those Far East and Middle East countries that criminalise possession of valuables missing/lost by their actual owners but found by you, you will surely be made to face the full rigours of the law if caught.

Once in Ghana, almost two years ago, I lost my mobile phone in a taxi. Several attempts were made at different times over a period of two days by my younger brother and a friend to locate the phone.

Each time, whoever had found it did answer the call. He was made to understand that the owner was looking for the phone. Once told this, he would switch off the phone.

After a total of about six calls over two days, the finder, in this case the thief, never answered the calls anymore. The mobile phone was never returned to me, the owner.

Is whoever found the mobile phone but decided to keep it not the same as a pickpocket? Had he not deprived me of the possession of the phone equally as a pickpocket would have done?

To such supposedly clever thieves believing in the proverbial "Ma da asase anya 3wam", meaning, "I thank my star for coming across such a valuable without any sweat", don't know what they stand to lose and the sin they commit.

Under Head of State Lt. Colonel I. K. Acheampong, an Accra taxi driver returned an abandoned or forgotten briefcase full of money in his taxi by one of his passengers to a radio station to try to locate the owner.

For what he did, the first of its kind in Ghana in those days, the Head of State rewarded him handsomely with many people donating money to him. He ended up receiving more money, praises and blessings than if he had secretly kept the money found in his taxi.

Many people have handsomely been rewarded for ensuring lost properties found by them get to their owners.

I had decided not to write any article today, but it just occurred to me out of the blue to put out this publication to let some people know how they can become potential pickpockets without knowing.

Don't be an avid or inadvertent pickpocket. They are both not good. If you do find somebody's missing property and the person is trying to locate it with you becoming aware of the situation, please do the honourable thing by restoring the property to the owner. There is more blessing in that than stubbornly keeping it, oh ye thief!

Columnist: Rockson Adofo