PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – What one man found in a local bar wasn’t anything you’d ever expect to find there, but is it “finders keepers?”
That man thought he was doing the right thing by turning it into police, but he ended up with nothing but a lot of trouble, until he decide to Get Marty.
If you found a 1-ounce gold bar, worth between $1,100 and $2,000, what would you do with it?
Would you be a fool if you went to police and turned it in, or just an employee at “5 Fools” bar in McCandless?
Ken Fink found gold.
The bar manager was cleaning up, he saw the glittering object under a table.
“Just sitting there for anybody to grab,” he said.
Ken immediately did the right thing.
“We just post notes for different employees,” said Ken.
A lost and found sign was posted in the bar for weeks. No one claimed the gold.
Ken even checked bar surveillance video and found nothing.
He then did what many people may not have done.
“So I went down and turned it in to the McCandless police station,” said Ken.
He took it to the station and gave it to an officer.
“They said, surprisingly, people don’t turn stuff in,” said Ken.
Police did some checking and called the treasury in Harrisburg.
“Harrisburg said it gets turned in at the end of the year with all their other evidence and it becomes property of the state,” said Ken. “Well, that just about floored me.”
Ken was doubtful and thought he might be able to claim the gold after a period of time, that’s when he called Marty.
The state treasury department handles this stuff – they have a vault full of stuff, abandoned property that’s been turned over to the state. The state tries to find the owner. But Ken’s gold bar is found property, according to lawyers — and there’s a big difference.
“If you find property, your title, your right to ownership of that property is good against the entire world except the original owner,” said attorney Jon Perry. “So in this case, the individual who found that property has good title to that property, unless and until the rightful owner comes forward to claim it.”
So, it’s not the state’s property after all. Lawyers indicate the McCandless Police got bad info from the state and were about to make a mistake.
KDKA brought that information to McCandless Police Chief Gary Anderson.
The chief brought it to the District Attorney. He had learned the same thing we learned: Ken’s gold bar wasn’t property to be turned over to the state.
“It’s my understanding that the civilian found it and therefore he’s the finder,” said Anderson. “So, after a year, if no one comes forward saying they lost this item, then it belongs to him.”
“My first instinct was, this can’t be real,” said Ken.
Ken turns out to be the most honest guy in the bar, just chasing the truth.
Anderson says he doesn’t want a long line of people at city hall saying, “that’s my gold bar!” In order to retrieve the gold bar, you’ll most likely need serial numbers and a description of what the gold bar was found in.