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  1. #1

    Apr 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    420
    1 times

    Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case


    Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) -- A judge threw out charges Friday against four men accused of stealing antique money they originally claimed to have found buried in a backyard.

    Police determined the men actually found the money last April in an old barn that three of them had been hired to repair.

    Their lawyers had sought the dismissal, arguing that the money was abandoned property because nobody knew it was in the barn.

    The 1,800 antique bills dating from 1899 to 1928 have a face value of about $7,000. A coin dealer the men contacted to appraise the money said he received an offer of $720,000.

    Steve O'Connell, a prosecution spokesman, said charges might be refiled.

    Tim Crebase of Methuen, Mass., and Barry Billcliff of Manchester, N.H., had been charged with larceny. Kevin Kozak and Matthew Ingham of Newton, N.H., had been charged with receiving stolen property and other counts.

    Police last year said the money belonged to barn owner Sylvia J. Littlefield, 75.

    The money remains in the possession of the local police department, said Michael Ruane, a lawyer for Crebase. It is unclear how the dispute will be resolved, laywers said.

    Clad ain't bad but silver's better!

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    MINELAB XS-2 Pro ....... XTERRA 305 ....... EXPLORER SE PRO

    Dec 2003
    S.W. Schuylkill County
    46,955
    5938 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    THANKS Klaatu for the update.

    I know some will disagree, But I for one am Happy
    to hear the Judge threw it out.
    It's not that much different then being hired to find a Ring,
    and locating a Cache while there.

    It's nice to know at least one judge believes in the
    Finders Keepers rule, when TRUE Ownership is suspect.

    OR At least that NO Laws were Broken, even if there "BIG MOUTHS"
    got them to loose the money.

    JEFF

  3. #3
    us
    Dec 2004
    Troy X5
    7,135
    8 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    "BIG MOUTHS"............. LMAOAGREED...
    All animals are equal, but some are more equal then others. -George Orwell

  4. #4
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,689
    49 times

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    You are correct...Big Mouths!....Glad the judge threw it out...but now who gets the money....hmmmmm...the attorneys?
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  5. #5
    us
    Random chance seems to have operated in our favor

    Oct 2004
    Oklahoma
    6,891
    4 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    I'm sure the DA's office will refile and then get the money to be held in perpetuity till the real owners are found. The guys will get a bill for attny fees and court costs and a lesson in life (aka-shut your mouth and tell nobody).

  6. #6
    us
    Feb 2006
    New Hampshire - USA
    Fisher CZ21, Teknetics T2 & Minelab Sovereign GT
    2,303
    451 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    I'm gonna play the part of the "disagreeing voice" here. The owner of the shed/barn where this money was discovered, hired these guys to do a gutter and/or roofing job on property they owned. Granted it appears nobody knew the money was there, but the owner of the property it was found on must have some legal right to it no?

    Supposedly the guys claim that the owner told them verbally that if they found anything, they could have it - considering these are the same guys who lied over and over about how they found it in the first place, I have my doubts as to whether anyone ever told them they could keep anything they found.

    I don't personally think the analogy of being hired to find a ring and finding a cache while in the process is very valid considering these guys were not hired to "clean out the shed" or find anything, but rather to make a repair.

    Being a treasure hunter at heart, I have to say had I been in their shoes, I would have of course kept my mouth tightly shut and slowly sold off the money to collectors around the country, however deep down I would have known that it wasn't my money to sell.

    Let me put out a different analogy and see what you think: Suppose your grandfather hides an extremely rare coin worth $200,000 in an old bandaid tin on a top shelf in your garage. He passes away without ever telling you about it and one day you hire an electrician to do some wiring in the garage and he accidentally knocks over the tin spilling out the coin and decides to take it. Is that stealing or is it "finders keepers" and he has as much right to it as you do?

    Just trying to play devil's advocate here.

    "There is no getting away from a treasure that once fastens upon your mind" - Joseph Conrad (Nostromo)

  7. #7

    Apr 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    420
    1 times

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    Cubfan,

    You took the words out of my mouth. I agree 100%. While I would have been severely tempted to keep the bills myself I would always know that they really belonged to the property owner.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the property owner and I think you will agree.

    Is this case that much different than property found in abandoned safe deposit boxes? Does this property belong to whoever opens the box or the person or his/her heirs who placed them there? Just last week here in Colorado a Purple Heart found in an abandoned safe deposit box was returned to the daughter of a deceased VN War vet. That was the right thing to do.

    "Finders keepers" worked fine in grade school but in real life it has limits.

    Clad ain't bad but silver's better!

  8. #8

    Jan 2006
    11

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    i have to agree with the last two posts. that court case could set a presedence. what the lawyers have made a point is that any repair person could effectively "find" something in your home or on your property and claim it as being abandoned and take it. i think it is wrong and they should be at least prosecuted for theft. i am sure i have things in my home that i have forgetten that they are where they are, it doesn't mean that i have abandoned them. the fact that the roof was being repaired is enough proof that the barn and contents were not abandoned.

    just my opinion

  9. #9
    us
    Beep beep 'm beep beep Yeah

    Dec 2004
    Brentwood, NH
    White's Classic SL White's Surf P.I.
    3,868
    829 times

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    I completely agree. Yes, the temptation would be huge... I'd have tried to make a deal with the property owner, I think . Coincidentally, several years back my folks had roofers strip out the copper lining out of an 7 foot square water resevoir in their attic (from back when the house had gravity fed plumbing). They knew my folks were away, but didn't count on me stopping by to see how things were going. Now, my folks were long-since too old to get up to the attic to know that copper was there, but I don't think it was "lost". (yes, I realize this is not exactly the same scenario) But the roofing company took $1500 off the bill to avert legal action, so my folks were happy enough.
    Former Caveman... my brain shrunk.

  10. #10
    us
    Feb 2006
    New Hampshire - USA
    Fisher CZ21, Teknetics T2 & Minelab Sovereign GT
    2,303
    451 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    Keep in mind as well that these roofers who discovered the cache of money got together at another guys house and spent time working up a "story" of how they dug it up in their backyard. Why would they go through the effort of doing that if they truly believed they had every right to the stuff? They knew as well as everyone else that they didn't have 100% rights to what they found. In an ideal world, they would have approached the owner who hired them to do the job and would have split the finds 50:50, but then again, this is the real world and as soon as something like this is found, greed sets in on every side.

    I think in a way, a case decision like this could hurt our hobby more than help it. All it does is make people even more wary of someone who asks permission to use a metal detector on their property. In their minds, even if there is a written agreement to share anything found, what's to stop the person with the metal detector of pocketing the very best things and never telling the owner?

    Personally I think these guys are lucky the judge threw out the case of theft against them.
    "There is no getting away from a treasure that once fastens upon your mind" - Joseph Conrad (Nostromo)

  11. #11

    Apr 2005
    colorado
    850
    1 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    Lose lip's sink ship's LOL. And don't tell youe EX either
    http://www.9news.com/acm_news.aspx?O...7-c589c01ca7bf
    Specialized Tracking, Searches, Research, Huge Treasure library.
    CZ-20  Arc-geo logger  Garret's  Tessoro's  magnetometer  Spectral Analysis
    Bloodhound tracking  Helicopter services Photography etc.

  12. #12

    Apr 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    420
    1 times

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    dano,

    I actually read that article last night on the 9news site.

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    Clad ain't bad but silver's better!

  13. #13

    Jan 2004
    NY
    4

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    These guys didn't know weather the property owner knew about the money when they removed it from the barn. The fact that they fabricated a story shows that they knew they were in the wrong. Under no circumstances should they be given the money.

  14. #14

    Apr 2005
    colorado
    850
    1 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    It doesn's do any good to fabricate a story if you don't stick to it LOL.
    I think the real reason they got off is the owner couldn't prove it was his.
    Specialized Tracking, Searches, Research, Huge Treasure library.
    CZ-20  Arc-geo logger  Garret's  Tessoro's  magnetometer  Spectral Analysis
    Bloodhound tracking  Helicopter services Photography etc.

  15. #15

    Feb 2004
    27

    Re: Charges Dismissed in 'Buried Treasure' Case

    The finders-keepers law is still on the books in many states, probably because most states havent had to deal with it in 100 years or so. But it has been overturned in a court of law several times since then. I read the article on Jan Wenner who is the owner of Rolling Stone Magazine, he hired two men to make a driveway in his Utah home, they found a jar of gold coins from 100 years or so ago.. the exact dates I dont remember. They kept it and then had second thoughts and gave them to Wenner, the guy who actualy found them then filed suit claiming the coins should be his. Wenner had offered a reward but the men had refused it. In court the " Law of Treasure Trove" that is on the books was thrown out and Wenner was awarded the coins and the two men got nothing. Years ago I read this law in a local law library: Finder acquires all rights to found treasure, property owner acquires no rights based upon his ownership of the soil." This may not be verbatim, it has been a while since I read it. But from the beginning the law has been foggy, for one thing finder would need permission to be searching on the owners land in the first place, if that permission had been granted then they have a legal entitlement to found treasure... if not then its just looting more or less. Anyone who is interested in reading that article I believe it was titled " The Slow Death of Treasure Trove".

 

 
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