Can the police just take your property?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can the police just take your property?

Yesterday my 18 year old son was riding my 12 year old son’s bike and was stopped by the police who accused him of stealing it. I was called an told to bring proof of purchase. I showed up and showed them my receipt for the bike. It has the picture, date, and cost. The police then tells me that the person who reported the bike stolen also has a receipt for the same type of bike and since neither receipt has a serial number they were taking my son’s bike. Can they do that?

Asked on August 3, 2019 under Criminal Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They cannot keep it after someone provides sufficient proof of ownership, or admits they *don't* own it (so that. the other claimant can get it), but as long as the true owner is unknown or indispute (and so long as it is evidence of a possible crime), they can hold onto it. They cannot give it to someone who may not own it; and they will not return evidence of a still-being-investigated or open crime.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption