2016 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 37 - Professions and Occupations
RS 37:1805 - Stolen things
§1805. Stolen things
A. For the purposes of this Part, a thing is stolen when one has taken possession of it without the consent of its owner. A thing is not stolen when:
(1) The owner delivers it or transfers its possession or ownership to another as a result of fraud.
(2) The owner delivers it or transfers its possession or ownership to another as a result of an agreement for the use of the thing by a natural person primarily for personal, family, or household purposes for a period of time which may or may not be automatically renewed with each payment made thereafter.
(3) The owner delivers it or transfers its possession or ownership to another via lease of movables, a finance lease, a true lease, a conditional sale, a credit sale, a loan, or a gift.
B. When a pawnbroker acquires a thing which has been deemed stolen pursuant to Subsection C, the pawnbroker shall return the thing to the owner at no cost.
C.(1) When ownership of a thing is disputed, final determination as to ownership for the purposes of this Part shall be made in either a civil or criminal proceeding filed in a Louisiana court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) When the party claiming ownership of a thing either refuses to initiate or cooperate in the criminal proceeding against the alleged perpetrator the thing shall be deemed not to have been stolen for the purposes of this Part.
(3) When the perpetrator cannot be located, or a criminal prosecution is not initiated for any reason other than the refusal of the purported owner to initiate or cooperate in the criminal proceeding, ownership of the thing may be determined in a civil proceeding. In such instances, the thing shall either be returned to the owner pursuant to Subsection B, or remain the property of the pawnbroker.
D. When the ownership of a thing is disputed and a criminal proceeding is initiated and continued, possession of the thing shall be tendered to the appropriate law enforcement or judicial authority until ownership is determined. Upon delivery of the thing to the appropriate law enforcement or judicial authority, the pawnbroker shall be given a receipt indicating the date of delivery, a description of the thing delivered, a docket or other relevant number, the style of the case, and the name of the person to whom delivery was made. Upon delivery of the thing, the appropriate law enforcement or judicial authority shall also initiate an offense report on the pawnbroker's behalf as a victim of theft by fraud.
E. When the ownership of a thing is disputed in a civil proceeding, the thing shall be retained by the pawnbroker. Alternatively, the alleged owner may have the thing placed in the control of the appropriate judicial authority and post security in an amount equal to one and one-half times the value of the thing, and all accrued interest, service charges, and one year's future interest. Upon a determination of ownership in favor of a person other than the pawnbroker, the thing shall be returned pursuant to Subsection B. Upon a determination in favor of the pawnbroker, the thing shall be returned to the pawnbroker and the pawnbroker shall be entitled to damages including interest and service charges calculated at the rates set forth in the pawn ticket whereby the disputed item was pawned.
F. When a thing is deemed stolen pursuant to this Section, the pawnbroker shall have a right of action against the pledgor for damages, including reasonable attorney's fees.
G. When a pawnbroker acquires a thing the possession or ownership of which was obtained by a pledgor through fraudulent means, the pawnbroker shall be obligated to return the thing to the owner for the same amount that the pledgor would have been able to redeem such thing.
H. When a person alleges that he has been deprived of a thing by the pledgor through fraudulent means, he may proceed civilly via summary process to restrain the release of the pledged thing to the pledgor and via ordinary process to determine possession of the pledged thing.
I. In no instance in which the pawnbroker relinquishes possession of a thing to any law enforcement or judicial officer or to any person pursuant to Subsection B or H shall he be liable in any manner whatsoever to the pledgor or any other person, including the owner.
Acts 1993, No. 391, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.
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