What to do with abandoned property?

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What to do with abandoned property?

I had a “friend” who stayed with me for a little over a week. Long story short, she stole my debit card and fraudulently withdrew my money with it, then used the money she stole to leave the state. The police are looking for her. Am I allowed to dispose of her stuff? She’s been gone for about a month, and I’ve contacted her several times to get her belongings but never gotten a reply. Tons of clothes, a bed, her daughter’s things, etc. It’s taking up a whole room. Am I allowed to donate/dispose of her things at this point since she never had a lease or paid rent, and I’ve attempted to notify her?

Asked on June 25, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you can prove that you sent her notice (e.g. written notice sent by certified mail with return receipt to her last known address with instructions to the post office to forward; copies of emails or text messages showing that they were not returned as undeliverable) that  she has to retrieve her belongings or else they will be considered abandoned,  and gave her 30 days since then, you should be able to safely dispose of her belongings however you see fit.


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