Most of us know the expression "honesty is the best policy." But is there a gray line where we don't have to tell if we find something? You know, that ol' "finders keepers, losers weepers" thing?
You're walking along and find a penny on the sidewalk.
Would you pick it up?
OK, maybe that's a little too low for many (to bend over and in potential spending power).
Would you pick up a quarter, or maybe $1 bill blowing in the wind?
How about a $20 bill?
Or maybe you find a bag full of money.
Before you celebrate your discovery, stop a moment.
You might be committing a crime.
A survey by BestCasinoSites found that residents in two Florida cities were among the top in the nation when it comes to turning found money over to the police.
The survey asked 6,610 Americans across the country what they would do if they found $1,000 on the floor. Would they keep it all or would they turn it over to the police?
What Florida cities were considered 'most honest'?
Jacksonville was No. 1, with 62 percent of those surveyed saying they would turn in $1,000 if they found it.
Miami was No. 3, with 59 percent saying they would turn in the money.
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Top cities that would hand the money over to police
Jacksonville: Hand it over 62%; keep it 38%
Los Angeles, California: Hand it over 61%; keep it 39%
Tulsa, Oklahoma: Hand it over 61%; keep it 39%
Atlanta, Georgia: Hand it over 61%; keep it 39%
Miami: Hand it over 59%; keep it 41%
Houston, Texas: Hand it over 59%; keep it 41%
Phoenix, Arizona: Hand it over 59%; keep it 41%
Just under half of those surveyed said they would keep the $1,000
They survey found 47 percent said they would keep the money if they found it on the street and nobody saw them.
Out of the women surveyed, 47.4% said they would keep the money, only a tiny fraction higher than the men that were asked (46.6%) and those who didn’t classify their gender (44.1%).
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Top cities where residents said they would keep the money
There were several ties here:
Detroit, Michigan: Hand it over 38%; keep it 62%
Memphis, Tennessee: Hand it over 38%; keep it 62%
New Orleans, Louisiana: Hand it over 38%; keep it 62%
Baltimore, Maryland: Hand it over 41%; keep it 59%
San Antonio, Texas: Hand it over 42%; keep it 58%
Las Vegas, Nevada: Hand it over 42%; keep it 58%
El Paso, Texas: Hand it over 43%; keep it 57%
Oakland, California: Hand it over 43%; keep it 57%
Austin, Texas: Hand it over 47%; keep it 53%
Arlington, Texas: Hand it over 47%; keep it 53%
Washington, D.C.: Hand it over 47%; keep it 53%
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Can you keep money you find in Florida?
According to Florida law, if you find and keep what is considered "lost or abandoned property," you could face criminal charges, fines and jail time.
MacIntosh Law explained the penalties:
If you take a low-value item (worth less than $300), you could face a petit theft charge. The penalty is 6 to 12 months in jail and $500 to $1,000 in fines.
If you find and take a higher value item, this is considered grand theft. The punishment for this crime is up to five years in jail and as much as $5,000 in fines.
Should you turn in found items to police, a store manager or a nearby employee?
If you find an item of value in a public space, turn it over to the police. They will work to track down its rightful owner.
Lost and abandoned property: What if you find something that's not money?
Notify police. If you'd like to have the lost or abandoned property if the owner can't be found, tell the officer.
Florida statutes states the officer "shall make a reasonable attempt to ascertain the rightful owner.
"The law enforcement officer taking the report shall ascertain whether the person reporting the property wishes to make a claim to it if the rightful owner cannot be identified or located.
"If the person does wish to make such claim, he or she shall deposit with the law enforcement agency a reasonable sum sufficient to cover the agency’s cost for transportation, storage, and publication of notice. This sum shall be reimbursed to the finder by the rightful owner should he or she identify and reclaim the property."
Who really said 'honesty is the best policy'?
While this expression has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it's actually a proverb that dates to the 1500s.
In "Europae Speculum," written in 1599, Sandys wrote: “Our grosse conceipts, who think honestie the best policie.”
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Found money? Do you turn it in or keep it? Can you identify owner?