1. Unless otherwise prescribed in accordance with section two hundred fifty of the general municipal law or section two hundred twenty-five-a of the executive law and unless otherwise provided by law applicable specifically to matters prescribed in this section, the police with whom found property or a found instrument is deposited shall accept and retain custody of the property or instrument, or proceeds of the property in the event of a sale pursuant to subdivision five of this section, and shall give notice of such custody, as provided in this section.

Terms Used In N.Y. Personal Property Law 253

  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • finder: as used in this article means the person who first takes possession of lost property. See N.Y. Personal Property Law 251
  • instrument: as used in this article means a check, draft, promissory note, bond, bill of lading, warehouse receipt, stock certificate or other paper or document, other than those payable, drawn or issued to bearer or to cash and other than money, evidencing, representing or embodying a chose in action or a right with respect to property or a share, participation or other interest in property or in an enterprise. See N.Y. Personal Property Law 251
  • lost property: as used in this article includes lost or mislaid property. See N.Y. Personal Property Law 251
  • owner: as used in this article means any person entitled to possession of the lost property as against the finder and against any other person who has made a claim. See N.Y. Personal Property Law 251
  • property: as used in this article means money, instruments payable, drawn or issued to bearer or to cash, goods, chattels and tangible personal property other than (a) "instruments" as defined in subdivision two of this section, (b) animals, (c) wrecks governed by the provisions of the navigation law, (d) logs and other property governed by section three hundred twenty-three of the town law and (e) vehicles governed by the vehicle and traffic law. See N.Y. Personal Property Law 251

The police with whom found property or a found instrument is deposited as provided in this article shall give to the person depositing it a receipt identifying the transaction of deposit and identifying the property or instrument. Such identification may be by description and recital of the facts of the transaction or by reference numbers, duplicate copies of records, or other method connecting the receipt with the records of the police with respect to the property or instrument and the transaction.

2. Such property or instrument shall be transmitted, together with the report of the person who deposited it with the police, to the police officer or other official designated to hold such property or instrument, who shall make entry in his records of such deposit and the report of the person depositing such property or instrument with the police.

3. If the report of the person who deposited the property or instrument shows that the property or instrument was found in a place other than a public street or highway, the police with whom it is deposited shall give notice of the finding and deposit, including the location of the office to which the property or instrument is transmitted, to the occupant of the premises where the property or instrument was found or to the person in charge of such premises.

The police with whom an instrument is deposited shall give notice of the deposit to each person whose name and address appears upon the instrument or whose name so appears and whose address is known to the police.

4. If at any time the police have reason to believe that a person has an interest in found property or in a found instrument in their possession and reason to know his whereabouts, they shall give notice of the finding and deposit and the location of the office to which the property or instrument is transmitted to such person.

5. (a) Property having salvage value only may be sold by the police in such manner as may be reasonable in the circumstances. Perishable property shall be sold by the police as soon as possible in such manner as may be reasonable in the circumstances.

(b) Property which requires special care may be kept by the police in public or private facilities which the police deem appropriate for the purpose of preserving it.

(c) Any property may be sold by the police at public auction when the expenses reasonably incurred in dealing with it, including expenses of taking of custody, transportation, storage and appraisal, any special expense incurred in giving notice, and any other special expense attributable to administration of this article with respect to the particular property, amount to more than one-half the amount reasonably estimated as the net sum likely to be realized by sale at public auction.

(d) If property is sold as provided in this subdivision the proceeds remaining after deducting the amount of reasonable expenses of the sale and reasonable expenses of dealing with the property prior to the sale,

including any items of expense mentioned in paragraph (c), shall be dealt with as lost property having the value of the property sold.

6. Subject to subdivision three of section two hundred fifty-six of this chapter and to section thirteen hundred ten or other applicable section of the abandoned property law, instruments shall be retained in the custody of the police with whom they were deposited until delivered to the person entitled thereto as provided in section two hundred fifty-five of this chapter.

7. Except as provided in subdivision three of section two hundred fifty-six of this chapter, lost property, and the proceeds of sale pursuant to subdivision five of this section remaining after deduction of expenses as provided in that subdivision, shall be kept in the custody of the police for the following periods, unless sooner delivered to the owner as provided in section two hundred fifty-four:

Property having a value of less than one hundred dollars or proceeds of property having such value, three months; property having a value of one hundred dollars or more but less than five hundred dollars or proceeds of property having such value, six months; property having a value of five hundred dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars or proceeds of property having such value, one year; property having a value of five thousand dollars or more or proceeds of property having such value, three years.

8. Three months before the expiration of the period applicable to the property in question, as specified in subdivision seven of this section, if the property has not been delivered to the owner as provided in section two hundred fifty-four, the police shall give notice to the owner, if known, and to any person they have reason to believe has an interest in the property, if the address or a former address of such owner or person is known, and to all persons who have made claim to the property, and to the finder and any person who has filed notice asserting the right of the finder as provided in section two hundred fifty-six. Such notice shall be in writing and shall be served personally or sent by certified mail to the last known address of the person to whom it is sent and shall state, in substance: (a) that if within three months after the date of personal service or mailing of the notice the owner does not claim the property, and if at the end of such three months no action is pending to determine rights to such property, written notice of which action was served upon the police having custody of the property, the property will be delivered to the finder or, if he establish his right, to a person entitled to assert the right of the finder as provided in section two hundred fifty-six; and (b) that if at the expiration of three months and ten days after the date of the personal service or mailing of the notice, the owner has not claimed the property and the finder, or a person entitled to assert the right of the finder as provided in section two hundred fifty-six, has not demanded delivery of it, and no action is pending to determine rights to such property, notice of which was served upon the police having custody of the property, it will be sold at public auction; and (c) in the case of property in the custody of the state police, that the proceeds of the sale will be deposited in the abandoned property fund of the state and in the case of property in the custody of other police that the proceeds will become the property of the city, county, town or village.