If I took some patio furniture in shabby condition that a store next door put out by the dumpster, do I have the right to keep it?

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If I took some patio furniture in shabby condition that a store next door put out by the dumpster, do I have the right to keep it?

It was there collecting trash water in the rain for 3 days before I rescued it. Now they want it back.

Asked on June 18, 2014 under Business Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Hmmm.  "Dumpster diving" is legal unless prohibited by local ordinances but this furniture was not actually in the dumpster, correct? And was the dumpster against their building or inside an enclosure?  Was it marked "no trespassing?" You may want to consider offering them a nominal amount for the furniture first but if they are claiming it was not "out for collection" then you may run the risk that your actions could be considered stealing.  Good luck.


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