General Question

Lovelocke's avatar

I took 4 lawnmowers from the backyard of an abandoned home with intent to resell them for delicious cash. Have I become a professional thief?

Asked by Lovelocke (1609points) August 1st, 2008
109 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Okay class, so dig it: Your old pal Lovelocke has been spying on his new neighborhood for the past month. From high atop the watertower in my accursed city, I looked over and spotted four good-to-midused condition lawnmowers of varying size and color.

Having lived here for a month, I wondered what those people were doing with four lawnmowers… maybe they were professional software engineers? I don’t know. But in the last week, I noticed the grass in their backyard reaching around the same height as the wooden fence surrounding it. Strange.

I drove around in the daytime and noticed red signs posted on the front of house declaring the home had been condemned with evidence of mold growing inside. That means, the lawnmowers out back were up for grabs.

Or were they?

A few nights back I got dressed up, and called a friend over who owned a pickup truck. In the course of 9 minutes, what was once nobody’s lawnmowers, going to waste in that sweltering jungle will soon become the lawnmower of dreams to underprivileged starving families who were in desperate need of a primped lawn… and subsequently, beautiful cash for me!

Was this a bad move? The lawnmowers and the house had to have been abandoned for a month at the very least for the grass to have reached that height.

SUMMARY:

Question 1: Abandoned home, abandoned lawnmowers – I went in at 2:00am and took them. Fair and square?

Bonus Question: Are you looking to buy a lawnmower? Everything must go!

Observing members: 0
Composing members: 0

Answers

marinelife's avatar

Dress it up any way you want. You stole someone else’s property.

osullivanbr's avatar

Completely wrong and unacceptable actions on your part. Stealing is stealing.
The topics you chose kinda pisses me off as well.

tinyfaery's avatar

How long did they just sit there? Days, weeks, months? If it was months, I say “who cares”. Just say you’re following the law of the seas; if its abandoned, and no one lays claim, its yours.

benseven's avatar

I think that’s pretty acceptable, to be honest, if it was clear nobody was going to bother with them.

I think doing it under the cover of darkness was a bad move though. That could have been hard to explain.

I don’t condone stealing, but I empathise with the thought that the things were going to rust up or be scrapped, and as such were good for the taking (assuming that was what you were thinking). Maybe you should give the proceeds to charity and offset any bad karma ;)

@ Tinyfaery – nicely summised (I wrote this around the same time).

poofandmook's avatar

I hope the lawnmowers weren’t stored in the basement of the abanoned, toxic, moldy house. Or maybe, that was their trick to play on whoever stole them. In which case, lmao… that’s rather poetic justice, no?

I didn’t really take this seriously… so the whole thing just gave me a decent giggle :)

bulbatron9's avatar

So you’re the S.O.B, that stole my lawnmowers!

Randy's avatar

Could a condemned house be considered a trash…..hmmmmmm, deposit? Like a place where people just put old junk and what-not. If so I’d say don’t spend it all in one place. If it’s still considered someone’s house, then I’m sure it’s their mowers and just hope they don’t find out.

Response moderated (Spam)
marinelife's avatar

@tf and benseven I hope through no circumstances of your own (say toxic mold was found in your house, and you were forced to abandon it, but there are lots of other possibilities) you had to leave some stuff on your property. You were not able to get back to your property for a month. Maybe your child had breathing problems, and you couldn’t leave him. Maybe you were just finding a new place and getting settled. But you come back one day and all of your stuff that was sitting legally in your back yard was stolen.

Whether a house is condemned or not does not mean it is abandoned or is not owned by someone. If you legitimately thought that was the case, you could search public records for the owner’s name and contact them to see if they wanted the lawnmowers.

Just taking them is theft. A crime. You stink.

Lovelocke's avatar

Well, there were people across the street watching us take the stuff that night. They just sat there on the porch, chuckling about it as if they thought it was kind of funny. The house and everything in/around it have to have been there for AT LEAST A MONTH (I’ve lived here 4 weeks). For curiosity’s sake, I just walked around the block and up to the front where the signs are posted, and sure enough, they’re dated as of June 2008… so the house, in total, has been abandoned 2–3 months at the very least.

osullivanbr's avatar

Just because some people across the road thought it was ok or amusing doesn’t make it right.

marinelife's avatar

Right. Just because I have not been observed by you as on my property or using my stuff, it is OK for you to take it? Crap.

Let’s see, two large young men at 2 A.M. are observed backing a truck up and removing equipment form a neighboring yard at 2 A.M. The thieves decide that since the neighbors did not object, it must not be stealing. More crap. They were probably afraid you were armed.

Lovelocke's avatar

@Marina: “Large?” :(

marinelife's avatar

@Ll Got me. I was getting carried away painting my picture. Sorry.

tinyfaery's avatar

@marina Way to blow it out of proportion. If I leave something outside for months, I would be stupid to think it would still be there if I return. They are frickin (sp) lawn mowers, not family heirlooms. Property, ownership, mine, mine mine, if its yours take care of it. I can’t tell you how many abandoned houses I’ve seen, with stuff stockpiled in the back yards: cars, furniture, dinnerware, TVs, etc. This stuff sat there for years. I’m sure many people could have benefited from said junk. Oh, but someone might come back some year and wonder where it went.

If these people returned and went around the neighborhood looking for their long lost lawnmowers, and pleaded with everyone to return them for their sick baby, then I’d give them all the money I earned from selling them, and then some.

marinelife's avatar

@tf That is your opinion. Mine is that the “why not” mindset is far too prevalent today. It does not matter if something is abandoned (and I contend that you really have no way to know that without going through legitimate channels, which could be done if you wanted to try to ‘claim’ something.) That does not mean it is up for grabs by anyone who feels like taking it.

If you’re going to do it, at least own what you are doing, which is stealing. Taking something which is not yours. You can keep rationalizing it all you want, but it does not change the facts. Also, there is no difference between stealing something small and stealing something of more value. It’s all stealing. Well, some things are felonies.

tinyfaery's avatar

What’s a fact? Through all of the random threads on fluther sometimes stats are facts, sometimes science is fact, or not fact. Opinion is opinion not fact. Would it be stealing if there was a huge national disaster and I looted a store to get water (think Katrina)? Oh but stealing is stealing. Its an absolute.

And just to let you know, I’d never break into a property to take anything. I’m a huge chicken. I won’t even sneak into a movie theater. In this thread cheeb joked about sneaking into a movie theater and everyone thought it was fun and cool. Isn’t that stealing? Why didn’t anyone call her a thief?

richardhenry's avatar

I’d say the lawnmowers were abandoned. I mean, you don’t leave things laying around in the garden of an abandoned house that you want to keep. The house is abandoned enough, never mind the abandoned things laying around it.

You stole, but it’s not necessarily the kind of stealing that is a huge deal. Just don’t make a habit of it… mostly because it’ll get weird. :)

srtlhill's avatar

Sneaking around stealing items is a good way to get shot or beaten by the rightful owners. If your lucky maybe the cops will just beat you for the nite. Good luck with that, your on your own slick.

Lovelocke's avatar

See, this thread is cooking quite nicely.

A point against Marina: It’s otherwise litter. I didn’t smash windows and steal candy from a baby with an automatic rifle, raping every woman I saw on the way out to the street to get to my stolen getaway helicopter… but a point against Tiny: I also didn’t need the lawnmowers like flood victims needed water.

On one hand, it could be considered stealing, but on the other hand, if someone dropped a $20 on the floor at the grocery store, someone would pick it up and say “No blood, no foul”. This is pretty much the same scenario as the latter… dropped, forgotten for 3 months, potentially more. There were no locks on the gate, there was no property damage done, no vandalism, no arson… the house will still be there to be cleared out/lived in one day, but it’s safe to say that whoever lived there took off for the coast and forgot about their crappy mowers.

If not taken/sold by me, they would’ve ended up in the garbage for the benefit of none. I’m not claiming to be a hero, I’m just hoping you wouldn’t throw the brightest shade of crime over my name either.

Curious404's avatar

One question: Do you make it a habit to peek at your neighbors from water towers?Creepy.

richardhenry's avatar

If you’d broken INTO the house or shed to get them, then I’d say you were totally in the wrong. I mean, you were in the wrong anyway, but it’s not a big deal. It’s lawnmowers. Abandoned lawnmowers.

tinyfaery's avatar

I was equating lovelocke’s scenario with Katrina victims. I was questioning the idea of stealing as an absolute.

Good summation richardhenry.

Don’t make it a habit.

Curious404's avatar

Its actually stealing AND trespassing! You had no right to take what is on someone elses property. You should not have even been there.

It would be different if the lawn mowers
were left abandoned on public property but u crossed into private property – whether that property is bank or state owned.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oops. I was not equating Katrina with lovelocke.

Lovelocke's avatar

@Curious…

…you believe that I’m hanging off of freaking water towers in search of lawnmowers, and then you want me to take your point seriuosly? Heh.

Response moderated
syz's avatar

I’m a little conflicted on this one. If the house had been condemmed and abandoned, then presumably it no longer belongs to anyone. Items left on the premises are presumably also abandoned.

That said, on a gut level, it seems like stealing to me, and stealing’s just wrong. By my standards, someone who steals is someone that I do not respect (insert mental picture of disapproving frown).

syz (35788points)“Great Answer” (1points)
osullivanbr's avatar

I still think you were wrong.
But I’ve been thinking about it and look I’ll forgive you if you give me one.

Deal?
Wrong though

Poser's avatar

I have many things in my house which have remained undisturbed for months. Say one day I forgot to close my door when I left. Would it be wrong for you to walk in and take something that had been sitting in my attic for years? No B&E, the door was open. It’s trespassing, but really no more so than walking into a back yard. You didn’t damage anything. I’d pretty much abandoned my stuff in my attic anyway. No harm, no foul, right?

Dress it up all you want, it’s larceny. Stealing, despite tf’s objections, is an absolute. The right to own property is one of the basic tenets of modern western civilization. It is a basic human right. What I choose to do with my property is my business—up for interpretation by no one.

The question of whether it was really wrong—did anyone get hurt, were the mowers wanted, etc.—is debatable. The question of whether it was stealing is not. Someone (not you) owned those mowers. You took them without permission. That is the definition of stealing.

Poser's avatar

Even if the house has been condemned, someone still owns it. I’m not familiar with the specifics of the law in this area, but it is either still owned by the owner (the state simply declares it unfit to live in), or it is taken by the state. In the first case, the owner still owns everything on the property as well as the house itself. In the second case, the state may own the house, the property and everything on the property, or the owner may still technically own all the “stuff.” Either way, someone (still not you) owned those mowers.

Not to put a damper on this rather friendly discussion, but I have to ask whether it was worth it. My mother once inadvertently walked out of a store without paying for something. She went back and paid for the item later. I asked her why she bothered, as it was only worth about three dollars. She said, “My integrity is worth far more than three dollars.”

You obviously knew taking the mowers was wrong (if not illegal) since you did it under the cover of darkness. Was your integrity worth four lawn mowers?

Lovelocke's avatar

Well now, here’s a different angle: Does the fact that your mother, inadvertently or not, walked out of a store without paying for a $3 trinket show that she IS capable of stealing? And at the same time, who are you to criticize me today if, when your own mother did the very same (stealing is stealing, as you say), your first thought was “Why she bothered?”

The idea is, if she knew it was wrong but she did it anyway… knowing or not, she did it. She went back and paid for it, and you had to ask “Why?” shows that you too didn’t know any better.

My point in this thread is this: Those four lawnmowers weren’t going to feed families, shelter the homeless, or end war… they were four lawnmowers, and whatever it was that your mother walked away with wasn’t going to change the world either. No one raindrop believes it’s responsible for the flood, and yet, it has to rain, am I correct?

syz's avatar

You’re splitting hairs, Lovelocke. You took something that didn’t belong to you. You stole.

syz (35788points)“Great Answer” (1points)
tinyfaery's avatar

I still say stealing is not an absolute, being that there is no such thing as an absolute. I’m sure you’ll find other cultures whose ideas about stealing are far different from ours (or yours).

And even if you did steal lovelocke, I still say “so what” in this case. Everything on a case by case basis, as far as I’m concerned.

Lovelocke's avatar

Oh, that isn’t meant as an attack, Poser: I’m just trying to delve into every worthwhile opinion in this thread to get some perspective on the idea.

Cold fact: I did it, I don’t regret it, and as they sell, I will be happy. Additionally, had any one of those neighbors come over and said anything, they would’ve walked home with a free lawnmower and they too, would’ve been happy about it. It wasn’t murder, nor was it a string of home invasions, it was a light crime that will come to benefit 5 people at the expense of 1… and so, the Pros outweighed the Cons and I did it.

Cheese.

syz's avatar

Nope. No pros, no cons, no degree of heinousness. It’s stealing.

syz (35788points)“Great Answer” (0points)
Poser's avatar

@tf—There are no absolutes? At all?

Lovelocke—I didn’t take it as an attack. I believe that everyone is capable of stealing, even my mother (even me). That doesn’t make it any less wrong, morally speaking. Every human is capable of many horrible things, but it is the act—not the thought—that defines our character. The fact that I asked her, “Why bother,” doesn’t indicate that I didn’t know stealing was wrong, but that I was young and still capable of having my character shaped by my mother. I’m thankful that she bothered to take that $3 item back to the store, not because it benefited the store owner, but because her doing so helped to shape the man I am today. Had she said, “You’re right. Why bother?” I might be agreeing with your moral equivocating about the lawn mowers. Instead, I decided that my integrity is not worth three dollars or three million dollars. I suppose every man has his price, though, and perhaps one day I’ll be given an offer I can’t refuse. The price of your integrity was four mowers. (That’s not meant as an attack).

Lovelocke's avatar

If it wasn’t meant as an attack, you would’ve have said it… heh. I think that was in a Will Ferrell movie, of all places.

“No, you see, you can’t say ‘no offense’ and then say anything you want to about me, it doesn’t excuse that.”

Poser's avatar

No, I really wasn’t trying to attack you. Criticizing, perhaps, but not attacking.

sndfreQ's avatar

Lawnmowers left out on public sidewalk or street curb=fair game

Lawnmowers or any property left on privately owned grounds (bank or person-no difference)=theft

Don’t banks hold estate sales in similar situations?

tinyfaery's avatar

No. There are no absolutes when it comes to ideas, like the idea of stealing. These things are culturally determined.

Poser's avatar

What cultures have no concept of theft?

tinyfaery's avatar

I didn’t say they have no concept of theft, just that it could be different than our (your) own.

sndfreQ's avatar

@tinyfaery: is this a discussion about concepts or about action? I’m a bit confused as it seems this action has already taken place. We live in a country of laws, and I based my explanation on the letter of law and that principle.

ktwizzle's avatar

Well I would have done the same thing, and would brag to my friends about it.Lets just say the lawn mowers were worth $1,000 all together ok. So instead of lawnmowers in the yard it was a bag of a $1,000, wouldnt you get it instead of the money being left there,I would.

Poser's avatar

@tf—Do you mean that their concept of theft doesn’t include the taking of ”(the property of another or others) without permission or right?” What would their concept be, then?

kt—the concept is the same. Lawn mowers or money. Theft is theft, no matter how you justify it.

ktwizzle's avatar

If they wanted them before they left they would have put them in a garage, or al least put a sheet over them to hide them, but seein they were just left in they open was probbaly saying we dont have room to take them with us, lets just leave them for someone to take.

ktwizzle's avatar

If you were leaving your house for two months wouldnt you cover them up if you didnt want them to be stolen

ktwizzle's avatar

Oops sorry, forgot the period.

ktwizzle's avatar

If I was there I would have burned the house and took care of the neighbors so there would be no proof.Ha ha ha!!!!

ktwizzle's avatar

That was sacrasim if you didnt know.

Lovelocke's avatar

Christ… that’s a lot of needless posts. I came back and saw “8 new replies” and thought there was some mind-expanding conversation happening here…

Poser's avatar

@kt—The issue is not whether the lawn mowers were easy to take, or whether the owners wanted them or not. The fact is that they belonged to someone else. That is theft.

Sure, if the owners wanted them, they should have taken better care of them. That doesn’t mean that taking them isn’t theft. I could leave my keys in my car with all the windows down in the mall parking lot. Someone would probably take it. That doesn’t make it not grand larceny.

Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. They are still crimes.

ktwizzle's avatar

Laughs, I would have stolen your car and given you the finger!!!!

tinyfaery's avatar

Perhaps some other culture’s idea of stealing involves the object itself, need, lack, within a certain time period, etc. How can we know. I try never to deal in absolutes.

sndfreQ's avatar

Here’s somewhat of a litmus test for you: similar to the point made earlier about not taking the lawnmowers in the middle of the day, how would you have responded/acted if there was a police cruiser parked outside the premises? Would that have affected your decision?

sndfreQ's avatar

@ktwizzle if I were there, you’d be giving me the finger from the back seat of the police cruiser…

Poser's avatar

@tf—Perhaps you don’t deal in absolutes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Perhaps there are no absolutes when it comes to ideas, but I’d argue that stealing isn’t an idea. It’s an action. A verb, no matter how different cultures might incorporate it into their societies. Beauty is an idea.

Ktwizzle—It’s a bet, right? The attention? You’re trying to get banned, right?

Ahh to be 13 again.

tinyfaery's avatar

Well the major difference between us is that I do not believe in a supreme being. There are no rules passed on from on high. Stealing is an action, but the action has an idea attached to it.

richardhenry's avatar

More to the point, why would you have four working lawn mowers? How big was this garden?

ktwizzle's avatar

Hmm well I wasnt venting my anger at you it was someone else but think of it this way. If there was $220,000,000 in a bag in a yard, wouldnt you take it. People every singe person on earth would take it ,and even if someone turned it in to the cops do you think they wouldnt keep some? No matter what you say greed will always take over a humans sense of good, that is all im trying to say.

Poser's avatar

@tf—How do you know I do believe in a supreme being? Whether rules are passed from on high or not doesn’t matter. Humankind is fundamentally the same throughout the world, and all cultures value the idea of property—whether public or private. The illicit taking of property is theft all over the world.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not true. Not all cultures value the idea of property; some have no concept of private property; everything belongs to everyone. And this is how I know.

Poser's avatar

I didn’t say all cultures value the idea of private property. I said public or private. In our culture, we have both, others may have only one.

Poser's avatar

And I was paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence in that post.

Poser's avatar

I’m not saying I don’t believe, mind you, just pointing out that you’re inferring something that may or may not be true, and assuming that’s where I’m arguing from.

tinyfaery's avatar

The DoI applies to one country. It was also written by a bunch of rich white men who didn’t want to pay their taxes. Let’s just agree to disagree. This is going nowhere.

Did you look at the link. You said our creator. Creator is what then?

Nevermind. I’m finished. Toodles.

Poser's avatar

The DoI is a philosophical statement about the status of human life, written by a bunch of rich white men who didn’t want to endure tyranny. I took the word “creator” from that document.

jlm11f's avatar

I would consider that stealing. And I agree with all who said that if you don’t think of it as stealing, why didn’t you do it during the bright day? Why wait for 2 am? Also, do you really need the money that badly? Wouldn’t you rather earn your money by working hard and honestly? I can sort of understand this situation if you are homeless…though it would still be considered stealing. Everyone has a different sense of ethics, I guess.

TheHaight's avatar

It’s stealing. Lovelocke- you must really need the money, huh? Heh! I guess my question is the same as PnL’s and the others; why so late at night, why so sneakily!? Why not just in broad daylight on a sunny Sunday… Heh! It isn’t stealing to you… So why not?

poofandmook's avatar

…I don’t even think this is a real event! People don’t climb water towers in search of treasure! What I think is that we’re all familiar with Lovelocke and his love of provoking. A good deal of his little sentence sprinklings, he must know are generally socially unacceptable, and he probably just enjoys the reactions he’s getting. This much at least is clear in his statement, “This thread is cooking quite nicely.”

Which is why I think the whole thing is hilarious.

marinelife's avatar

@poof I suspected the same, but I don’t find it hilarious. Flutherers are not lab rats to be run though hoops for somebody else’s amusement.

I actually found this whole thread with all its rationalizations, self justifications and equivocations very depressing. Fortunately, my faith in humanity can usually only be dented, not destroyed. It was restored this morning by this AP story. which I am excerpting below. The whole story is very worth reading, however.

“VICTORVILLE, Calif.—A homeless man who found a purse containing nearly $1,000 returned it to a needy mother of three—but admits he thought about keeping the cash.

The man, identified by the Victorville Daily Press only as Chris, told the newspaper that he had been trying to save $700 to move into an apartment. “I can’t say I was perfect because for a tenth of a second, I thought about taking it,” he said. But “it wasn’t my money,” he added.”

poofandmook's avatar

@Marina: The reason why I think it’s funny is because, while Flutherers aren’t lab rats, he still managed to get 72 responses… he managed to suck people in, get them good and pissed, even have them bickering between each other. He didn’t make us lab rats; we could have chosen, like you’ve pointed out on several other attention-seeking threads, that if we ignore it, we don’t get sucked in… so in essence, we did it to ourselves. We handed him, on a silver platter, exactly what he came here looking for. So instead of get angry, I chose to find it funny. As long as I knew there was no house, and no people ousted from their home due to toxic mold, and no stolen property with heartless neighbors watching on, there was no harm.. it’s just a yarn… like every other story.

ktwizzle's avatar

Oh and poser only an idiot would try to get banned, so I dont know whats going through your head, but ovbiously made up stories.

Lovelocke's avatar

@ Richard – The backyard in question was at best 40 feet by 80 feet. Not a very large chunk of land at all… you couldn’t build a drive through restaraunt on his property.

@ PnL – Work and easy money have little to do with each other. What do you do for a living? Me, I just got back from the Middle East teaching a classroom full of students eager to learn about filmmaking in HD. I’m a teacher, but I’m also living in the United States where we are in recession. A lot of people who are doing what they did 5 years ago are finding out “It’s not enough anymore”. I’m not hurting for cash, but I don’t mind the free gasolene… which is really what it comes down to.

@ Poof – No, I really did it. I can take a picture of the lawn mowers if you’d like and post them online… heh. However, the thought did enter my head to announce the whole thread as a hoax. Really though, if I did that, would it change anyone’s opinion? Everyone has proven themselves to be fiercely judgmental of people they don’t know online… do the point to where some arrogant souls have even placed tangible values on things like integrity.

And really, who the hell are any of you to judge one human being based on a feel-good story that was probably fabricated on a slow day by a bored, religiously-inspired journalist? Who’s impressed by the one story someone had about ONE act of piety that minimally impacted their lives? That person is one in a million at best, one in a billion in some places, but we are all indeed human, and I promise that everybody has the need to use a confessional at many points in their lives.

Me? I’m not a murderer, rapist, or anything else… I took four lawnmowers, an act that will not spark nation-wide riots like Jim Crowe Laws (who were also passed by the people who placed their hands on the Bible and swore to lead their country, states, cities etc to the highest moral and ethical standards). I wasn’t there sipping iced tea looking across the backs of black slaves building America, I wasn’t there when the blacks were freed and the Irish and Chinese were working their fingers to the bone, I wasn’t there when the Mexicans had to work long hours for crappy pay for crap hours before… oh wait, they’re still doing that: And the Americans are still there pointing the finger at them for trying and telling them to go home.

Well good news! I’m at home, and I’m every bit as evil and god-fearing as each and every one of you. I’m every bit as rich and poor as every one of you. I’m every bit as beautiful and ugly as every one of you. I’m also every bit as wise and stupid as you are.

If people in America would stop placing other people in America in this virtual caste system where all people are either good or bad, rich or poor, white or colored, then a question like this would roll off the sweat beads that WOULD be forming on your brow if you were out there working yourself to death like a million other people out there are doing right this second.

One last thing: The time I chose to do it… there’s nothing supernatural about me choosing to do it at 2:00am instead of 2:00pm. It was a question of availability, my friend didn’t get off of work until 12:00am Midnight, and he drives a half hour to go home (and I’m along the way). He and I went to a 24 Hour McDonald’s, ate, then stopped off on the way back home.

If I would’ve done it during the day, I would’ve had a terrific excuse for us being there. “We’re going to start clearing out this house over the next week, they’re looking at putting the home back on the market but only after some repairs are being made.”

“What are you going to do with all of those lawnmowers?”

“Trash them, actually. Why? You need one?”

…and so, there, in broad daylight, someone else would’ve taken a free lawnmower, and not think twice about where it came from or where the others are going… not even if we never showed up ever again to “clean the house”. What does that say about the neighbor? If I would’ve done it during the day, would that have made it any bigger/less an offense?

I don’t think so. Pointless area of debate… the time of day.

syz's avatar

You still insist on tossing in an argument that you’re not a murderer or rapist – that’s not in question here and has nothing to do with the discussion. The question is whether or not you are a thief. Re-read the question that you posted. The overwhelming response seems to be an emphatic “yes”.

syz (35788points)“Great Answer” (1points)
sndfreQ's avatar

Well, interesting diatribe…here’s a thought-why don’t you contact the owners of the property (i.e. the bank, the family, landlord etc.), and let them know about your plans to “clear out” their property as a favor to them; I’m sure that’ll be a colorful conversation.

Remember you asked us to judge you when you asked in your question “Have I become a professional thief?”

Now after this interesting debate, based on what you’ve told me about yourself, I’ll have to respond with:

Professional thief-nope; amateur at best.

Desirable neighbor-not a chance.

“Welcome to the neighborhood” buddy.

poofandmook's avatar

Okay, so you did it.

Maybe a few of you would say that my morals are skewed, but I have way too much in my life, and the lives of the people connected to me (as you can see from two of my questions regarding work lately) to really care all that much if he stole a few lawnmowers. I thought it was funny when I believed it to be a hoax, but if it really happened, that puts me in the “don’t really care” category. If it fell into the “me” or “people connected to me” slot, then maybe. Otherwise… meh… karma I suppose. There it is.

Poser's avatar

Again, you can jump up and down all day on the sad state of society—the rich and the poor, the white and the black, the haves and the have-nots—it doesn’t change the fact that you stole the mowers.

You call me arrogant for putting a tangible value on integrity. First, you put the value on your integrity when you decided that the money you could get for the mowers was worth more than your integrity. I merely pointed out this fact. The truth is, you asked the question, so you must have had some idea that what you did was, in fact stealing. Therefore, you must have, at some point, made the decision that your honesty was not as important as getting those mowers.

Second, it’s ironic that you call me arrogant for giving you my opinion (which you asked for) when you are the one who arrogantly decided that your gas tank was more important than someone else’s rights. Theft is one of the most arrogant acts someone can commit. It’s saying, in essence, that even though someone else’s sweat went into obtaining said property, you deserve it more than they do. You keep trying to assuage your guilt by claiming you’re not a murderer or rapist. While that may be true, I think the three crimes are quite similar. In each case, you selfishly take something which you have no right to take. It’s simply a question of degree of severity.

Lovelocke's avatar

Someone who was reading over this thread sent me a little snippet: Apply it as you will.

“What did people do before money? Begged, borrowed, took. The same thing with the land mass of America as a whole, Europeans took the land, killed/herded those living in it to tiny charitable pieces of inhabitable land and called it Manifest Destiny. By doing that, they justified themselves.”

Rape and murder keep appearing in my text because those are other elements of greed and power. Nobody died for the mowers, and they are just freaking lawn mowers by the way… and no force/brutality was exerted on anyone in the process.

And a point that was lightly alluded to earlier was the fact that the original question was written like a freaking comic book prologue. Someone even asked me “Why are you hanging off of water towers peeking into neighbor’s lawns?”

…everything written on the Internet must be true.

Supplemental Video on your detective work/judgement:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP1sQ1HPgUM

jlm11f's avatar

” I took 4 lawnmowers from the backyard of an abandoned home with intent to resell them for delicious cash. Have I become a professional thief?”

- You asked, we answered. But now you feel the need to argue and defend yourself. This thread seems rather pointless to me. If you don’t think you did anything wrong, why cause all the drama and waste our time? Get over your attention seeking habits, we are not in high school, and you are not 15 years old. well, the last part might be true…

I will probably not be answering this thread anymore so don’t bother defending yourself against my statements.

Poser's avatar

You’re right, lovelocke. I take back everything I said before. Since stealing lawn mowers isn’t as bad as, say, rape, murder or genocide, it must be okay.

Silly of me to think that integrity should be applied to small matters just as it should be applied to large ones. I guess I’m just not as enlightened as you.

marinelife's avatar

What you seem to be saying, lovelocke, is that because lots of other people have historically committed lots of other crimes, you are justified committing yours.

I call BS.

Hotpockets's avatar

Hmm, after reading this entirely too long thread it seems as though Lovelocke isn’t trying to justify or even rationalize what he has done, it seems as though he is only sharing his experience while being a bit egotistical. Even in the intro to his question he exaggerates and makes himself seem like a superhero or whatnot.
For those of you who keep badgering him that he has done a bad thing and lost his integrity, all he was saying is that the human race has a history of taking and then giving away/bartering/theivery and then of course all the other things that are deemed horrible. That’s all. It is in our nature. It doesn’t justify it or not justify it.
And as far as comparing stealing lawn mowers vs. rape, etc. Yes, stealing mowers might not be as bad. The whole point of bringing those others up is just to put up a reminder that there are worse things in the world to think about.
A lot of you took his experience to heart and made a big deal out of it. Now I’m not saying that those of you who did are wrong, nor am I saying that you are right. To each his own. I just think we can all learn to relax a little.

marinelife's avatar

@Hotpockets (I can’t type that without hearing the jingle.) Welcome to the collective!

Lovelocke's avatar

Hotpockets has it 100%.

winblowzxp's avatar

I can tell you why at 2:00 in the morning…I didn’t want to sweat my arse off carrying those mowers!

As the law also states, abandoned property belongs to no one, whether it’s at the White House, or a bum’s cardboard box. Property which belongs to no one belongs to the first person who grabs it.

winblowzxp's avatar

In adition, it’s not like were in full battle dress with camo makeup on, and went in lights off, etc. I distinctly remember loud heavy metal, headlights on, and engine running A/C at full blast. No sneakily about it. And yes, I was preoccupied until midnight…so what it?

bulbatron9's avatar

You’re still a bunch of god damned thieves!

Hotpockets & winblowzxp, I have a feeling you are lovelocke’s little cohorts! The new Zacks have arrived! Pathetic!

winblowzxp's avatar

That begs the question…If you leave your clothes at the dry-cleaner for over a month, if the cleaner takes them and sells them, is that stealing?

poofandmook's avatar

@winblowzxp: My mom manages a dry cleaner; yes, it is. She can attest to the fact that their business is roughly 50% the white-collar crowd, meaning, they bring their shirts, and other assorted work attire in weekly or bi-weekly and pick it up thusly. The rest, she said, rarely pick up their clothes within a month. Meaning, about 1/2 their clothes on the rack have been there a month or more.

winblowzxp's avatar

I’d be willing to bet that there’s a nice little sign in that cleaner that says that articles left over x days will be towed at owner’s expense, or something to that effect.

In the legal sense abandonment is the relinquishment of all rights, claims, etc of a piece of property without transferring those rights to another individual.

By the standards held by many respondents here, you are all theives. Why? Because you have all found a nickel, dime, quarter, etc. on the ground, picked it up and put it in your pocket. By your logic, that coin/bill belongs to someone else…not you, and you took that person’s property without permission, ergo you stole that quarter you found on the sidewalk.

Curious404's avatar

No Winblow. The difference is if the quarter was found on public or private property. Agree its stealing if money was taken from someone’s yard vs a sidewalk.

marinelife's avatar

The law is clear about what constitutes abandoned property and when. Something is not abandoned because you declared it abandoned, fellas. More whingeing self-justification.

sndfreQ's avatar

@winblowzxp: in your rationale regarding cleaners, you forget the very important point: the dry cleaner has performed a service for the customer (cleaning their clothes), and payment is due to the cleaner for services rendered. The forfeiture of those articles of clothing are intended as compensation for non-payment/non-fulfillment of that contract between company and customer, not for abandonment (although abandonment is the by-product of the circumstance).

I still think you guys don’t have a leg to stand on on this issue, regardless of the excuses you made. How come none of you will contact the authorities in this matter to clarify your point? Maybe (playing devil’s advocate here), if they support your claim, it would add some credibility to your position-there may even be local laws in your neighborhood that set a statute of limitation on so-called “abandoned” property. I’m still thinking those things were not abandoned according to your descriptions.

Some comedian coined the phrase think it was Chris Rock “If you don’t know, you betta ax (sp) somebody!”

Hotpockets's avatar

@bulbatron9 Not a cohort. Just another observer like yourself.
I just logged on and found out that I got it right.
All it took was a little common sense.

And by the way, all this talk of public and private property…

@Lovelocke: how did you know this house was abandoned? Was there a sign in the yard or on the house itself claiming that it was now abandoned and public property or did you just see a whole bunch of weeds and assume?

bulbatron9's avatar

@Hotpockets did you read the details? He said it was posted.

Just because a house has been declared condemned, doesn’t make it “public property”!

Hotpockets's avatar

@bulbatron9 Well, exactly. Just because it is declared condemned doesn’t make it public property. My question wasn’t whether it was declared condemned, it was whether or not it was declared abandoned.
Either way, it doesn’t matter much. Technicality says that he stole it no matter what. Whether he stole it from a condemned property or from an abandoned property owned by the city, its all stealing.
But again, I’m not advocating stealing here.
I’m advocating indifference. XD

Lovelocke's avatar

Has this one crossed 100 posts yet? I’m getting bored of seeing this pop up… heh.

winblowzxp's avatar

I don’t know…experiment is over…

poofandmook's avatar

@winblow: I called my mom. She said there’s no sign in any of the stores she manages, and she said that in the 20+ years she’s been in the business, that’s the stupidest thing she’s ever heard, and that if any dry cleaners she went to put up a sign like that, she’d stop using them, just on principle.

sndfreQ's avatar

@Lovelocke @winblowzxp: your last replies are quite telling.

benseven's avatar

Lighten up, geez.

Lovelocke's avatar

The odd “my momma said nuh-uh” diligence of poof is a bit offputting. On the other hand, I’d say I have never seen a cleaners WITHOUT the above mentioned disclaimer.

poofandmook's avatar

This whole thread is offputting, if you want to really get into that…

benseven's avatar

I don’t really think Lovelocke, for his fairly balanced engaging with the rest of the community throughout this thread, and general sense of humour and light heartedness, is the one responsible for this thread being at all ‘offputting’, if you catch my drift.

SonjaBegonia's avatar

I’d say it depends on the conventions of the community you live in. In Seattle, where I’m from, people often set old furniture and other stuff they no longer want out on the curb. Sometimes they’ll put a note on it saying “Please help yourself” or something similar, but even if they don’t, it’s generally assumed the item is free for the taking. So, if it was a situation like that, then it certainly isn’t stealing. It’s called re-using, and that’s good for the previous owner, the new owner and the environment! However, it’s possible that some communities do not use this particular convention, in which case you may be treading in a grey area. Still, from your description, it sounds doubtful that the owners wished to keep the lawnmowers. Perhaps, if you wanted to be on the safe side, you could leave a note for the owners explaining what you did and why, leaving your email address for them in the unlikely event you were mistaken.

Poser's avatar

@tinyfaery I was just rereading this post and can’t believe I didn’t point out the irony in your statement before: “there is no such thing as an absolute.”

Hilarious!

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

No, you are not a professional thief, you are merely an amateur thief.

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