Is it stealing to "Borrow" something?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by fleshman03, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. fleshman03 macrumors 68000

    fleshman03

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    Sioux City, IA
    #1
    So this news is all over my campus and I thought it might make a good discussion here.

    The story:
    A high level university administrator takes a bike that was on a loading dock and loans it to a "semi-homeless man." The rightful owners of the bike file a report with the university police. They find review the video and find that it was a VP of a college. When confronted he said he thought it was abandoned and loaned it to his friend. He then tells the student to tell the police that this "is all just one big misunderstanding." He then quit his position at the college and gets $50,000 in severance. He then takes it back.

    I did my best to explain what is going on. I'd suggest a look at some of these article....

    Here are some news stories on the topic:
    First we heard of it
    The administrator resigns
    He gets $50K
    He takes it back
    The best store I've seen from the student's point of view


    What do you think? Thief or good person?
     
  2. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #3
    By definition it's not. To steal is to permanently deprive one of their belonging.
     
  4. Aea macrumors 6502a

    Aea

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    #4
    Sounds more like a total lack of judgement to me.
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #5
    Well if he thought it was abandoned and was loaning to a homeless person, he likely isn't expecting it back.

    About like loaning this current friend lunch money.

    And if you watch COPS, they do charge the people with theft that take the $1000 bike sitting in front of the store. Even when they say they were just borrowing it.
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #6
    Then it's not borrowing, is it? I was merely answering the question.

    Don't bring context into this. :D
     
  7. fleshman03 thread starter macrumors 68000

    fleshman03

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    #7
    Sadly. This and budget cuts...

    Not what FLA law says:
    The 2008 Florida Statutes

    Title XLVI
    CRIMES Chapter 812
    THEFT, ROBBERY, AND RELATED CRIMES View Entire Chapter

    812.014 Theft.--
    (1) A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
    (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
    (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.
    if the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, the offender commits petit theft of the first degree, punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree, as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

    That's what I think too. Maybe some sanction and a public apology. But he resigned before an investigation started. It makes him look really guilty. But even if he was convicted, there is no way he would get anything more than 6 months probation.

    I think it's more the principle of the thing. He should have known better... that sort of thing.

    BTW - can anyone think of a better title for this thread? I was/am at a loss.
     
  8. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #8
    Why didn't he just apologize and offer to buy a replacement bike for the student?
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    Why would anyone take a bicycle in reasonably good condition sitting on a loading dock for a few hours, assume it was abandoned, and then give it to the "semi-homeless" person who sometimes lives with them and supposedly has an extensive criminal record?

    What about this whole crazy story does make sense? How did a person with this kind of judgment capability become a vice president of a health center (grantedly, not exactly the best academic medical center in Florida :p but still... ;) ).
     
  10. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #10
    Around here - a university town - bikes are abandoned all over the place and it would be easy to assume, for a lot of them, that the owner never plans to return (weird, but it happens a lot). That said, they tend to be left to the elements until the winter and summer breaks. Most people wouldn't just pick one up and hand it to their needy buddy.
     
  11. djellison macrumors 68020

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    Pasadena CA
    #11
    So if I 'borrow' your car today, and give it back one nanosecond before you die - it's not stealing?

    How is it that people are found guilty of burglary when, under that definition, they could simply say "I was going to give it back in 4 years time - I wasn't depriving them of it for good"
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    That's what I meant... having spent a large amount of my life living in university towns (Ann Arbor for six years and Gainesville for four) I have often seen and heard discussed abandoned bikes. Most of them are either non-functional or close to it by the time they're abandoned -- the bike in the picture seemed awfully nice, even for a $100 bike, to be what I've seen of abandoned bikes.

    OTOH, I have never heard anyone have a conversation that went anything like, "Hey, I know this semi-homeless person. I saw a bike on the loading dock this morning. I should give it to him." I think you have to agree that it is odd, even though people do abandon bicycles.
     
  13. yoppie macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I think he's a thief.

    Just because you think something is abandoned, doesn't make it true. He should have purchased a bike for his friend or told him no. If a student had pulled the same stunt, he'd be facing charges.

    The administrator had no right to the bike and it wasn't like it was a dusty old bike. It was a fairly new looking bike. Shame on him and good riddance.
     
  14. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #14
    You're in the UK, so according the the English Theft act of 1968:
    "A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it." (Section 1)​
     
  15. djellison macrumors 68020

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    #15
    My point stands. "I fully intended to return the BMW in 18 months time m'lud"
     
  16. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #16
    the police in the UK would charge you with "taking without owner's consent" instead of "theft" because of the law that EricNau referred to......so you would still be in trouble over that BMW!
     
  17. fleshman03 thread starter macrumors 68000

    fleshman03

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    #17
    That's an interesting legal distinction. How much does the penalty differ? It would seem to fit perfectly in this case.

    Although does anything think that he tried to use his position to influence the student to retract the charges?
     
  18. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #18
    it seems the entire business was blown way out of proportions.
    i am sure for the guy it looked like something worth zilch (this guy was making 400K), and he likely really thought it was abandoned (as it was in the same place every day).

    the student sounds like a prick, just basking in the opportunity of getting someone powerful in trouble (with some lying of his own re: if the bike was locked, how comes the lock picking/breaking is not on the tape?). his way of 'sticking it to the man'. i see bad karma coming to him in the future.

    the guy handled it very poorly. just apologize and offer to buy a new bike (on top of the old one which was returned).
     
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #19
    That law is 'wack' (is that the correct term?).

    What if he just took it 10 minutes ago, and I now wish to use it?? I think at that point it becomes theft.

    He has deprived me of my property at a time I wish to use it, and thereby subject me to unnecessary inconvenience/cost.
     
  20. yoppie macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Well to be fair the bike wasn't in full view of the camera and the paper/cops said there was a lock found nearby. They can't say if the bike was locked with it though.

    About the bike being there everyday, if the student attends classes there everyday that is not out of the ordinary. I park in the same parking lot everyday and can be found in the same spot most days but that for sure doesn't mean I abandoned my car does it.

    If he truly thought the bike was abandoned, why would he plan for the bike to be returned? Wouldn't he just give away the abandoned bike?

    I think he's a thief who had the bike returned once he got wind that there was an investigation going on. He was in charge of the dept. where the bike was stolen.
     
  21. fleshman03 thread starter macrumors 68000

    fleshman03

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    #21
    Hey Fellow Bull!

    There is one thing that really bothers me with this whole thing. If he thought it was abandoned, shouldn't it be given to UP or sometype of lost and found for a period of time? The bike was pretty well kept, so it's not unreasonable that someone would have lost it or something.

    He didn't even think of the potential owner of the bike.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    Yes. Anytime you have to put quotes around "borrow", it's stealing.
     
  23. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #23
    I know. I realize I was just restating, more or less, what you'd said. :confused: wonder what I was thinking...
     
  24. yoppie macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Haha...you figured me out.

    I attend UF now but I graduated from USF back in 2006. GO BULLS!

    Not a bad idea. He definitely could have alerted the UP/Lost & Found if he was concerned about the bikes being abandoned.

    As for the bike's looks, I find it interesting that it wasn't the first bike he grabbed. He looked over those bikes and then picked the best looking one. THE CLEAN ONE.
     
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #25
    What you were thinking? You weren't the one who took the bike. :D
     

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