So, months ago, I found a gold chain in my laundromat. It was not in a visible place. It was in the cabinet-like thing where the filter is at in the dryer (it is hard to explain but we customers have access to the filter to clean it). Anyways, I decided to take the chain and sell it. Again, I recently found an ear ring but I do not know if it is fake or not. But, my question is, is finding these things and selling them or not returning them a mortal sin? I keep on thinking that what I did was not the right thing. And it was late hours so there was only me and my brother and this family. The owner to the laundromat was not present at the time.
I would not call it a mortal sin, however the chain did not belong to you and you should not have sold it. You should bring this up the next time you go to confession. Next time, either leave the item there (the owner may miss it and return) or turn it in to the Laundromat owner the next day; if it was your property, you would want it returned to you.
If you find small or commonplace jewelry in a laundromat, not in a visible place, it may be nearly impossible to determine who lost it. Now, this is just my opinion, I wouldn’t worry about it unless it was such a valuable object, like a large diamond, that someone would be seriously impacted by its loss. A gold chain or earring doesn’t sound serious to me. It also depends on how easy or how risky it would be in your community to attempt to find the rightful owner. For example, if the laundromat owner if trustworthy, you could leave the matter in his hands. If the police are trustworthy, perhaps they could handle it.
I will certainly bring this up next time I go to Confession. Thanks for the advice and information.
Well I can’t really say if it is a mortal sin but what you should have done is giving the gold chain to the laundry mat owner. You knew the gold chain didn’t belong to you, there is a reasonable way to return the gold chain to its owner (there is a big chance that the owner may return to ask the owner for it) and to most reasonable people that is clear, you had the intention to take it and carried away and deprived the owner from the property. From a legal point of view this may be larceny. Whenever you find anything of value within an establishment/cab/train etc you have to give it to the owner of the place/taxi driver/train person etc. And I would agree that sounds like a good idea to bring it to a priest.
One would perhaps make a reasonable (proportionate to the item) effort to find the owner.
If I find a $5 bill blowing in the wind. Well I cannot find its owner. So it is mine.
If I find a gold ring in a laundry mat - there are ways to reasonably seek out is owner first.