Is it legal to take your property out of someone else’s unlocked car without there permission, if they stole it from you?

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Is it legal to take your property out of someone else’s unlocked car without there permission, if they stole it from you?

Asked on June 7, 2011 under Criminal Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This question brings to mind the saying "two wrongs do not make a right."  You are really not allowed to go in to someone else's property - house or vehicle  or boat, etc - even if it is unlocked or unsecured, even if it is to get your own property back. Court's generally frown on those that practice "self help" like landlords who lock out their tenants for unpaid rent.  The proper thing for you to do was to call the police and advise them that your stolen property has been located and ask them to come tot he scene to confiscate it.  Did you file a police report when it happened?  You would then have to prove ownership.  I know: it was easier to open the door but I am afraid that you will be charged because of it.  If that happens seek legal help in your area asap.  Good luck.  


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