This may be scrupulous, but I need to ask

Last June, several men came and remodeled our office for a few days and left behind a small portable fan and have yet, 10 months later, to come back or even call to inquire about it. I have used it as a desk fan for all this time but our temp inside the office is so cold you don’t even need to use it. I brought it home to use in my bedroom this week and plan to keep it here.

Would this be considered stealing?

I don’t know if it is stealing but my mother taught me not to touch things that don’t belong to me.


I will ask my priest Saturday.

I would consider it as recovering abandoned property.

I would think you could have called them and told them they left it behind about 9 months and 2 weeks after they left it. Someone in the office would know how to contact them.

Even if it was left behind, it wasn’t yours to take home.

So yes, it was stealing.

yes. Why didn’t you call them?

It’s a little late but just get in contact with them and tell them about that fan. If they do not want it back, take it home and use it. But call them first, they may have forgotten about it or thought they lost it.

You should make an attempt to call them.

I’m not the OP.

What is the value of the fan? Gas is at least $1.80 a gallon. How much will it cost to send someone to pick up the fan? More than the value of the fan more than likely. What is the cost of the lost time of a worker to pick up the fan? More than the value of the fan probably.

Yes you are being scrupulous.

It is not stealing in the strict sense of the word; using it in the office is understandable but taking it to your home is something else.

Sorry. I meant the OP.

The best course of action would probably been to have called them, but it’s kind of late now. If they should come asking, it would be best to explain and give it up. But this long after, I wouldn’t be concerned.

Minimally, it certainly wasn’t yours to take home unless someone in authority at the office said you could do so.

No its not stealing, because it has been abandoned.

All of these sound like rationalizations for keeping something that does not belong to the OP.

I remember years ago, Mother Angelica was talking about when you get a piece of mail and the stamp wasn’t canceled. She said that it was paid for by someone else and if you reuse it, you are stealing. If something that small can be stealing, why isn’t taking to your home, not merely using in the office, something that is not yours, stealing?

Justify it all you want, but the OP took something that wasn’t theirs.

As other posters have said, the right thing would have been to call them and tell them they had left their fan ten months ago. I would still call and tell them about it now. If they say they are not interested in picking it up anymore, then ask your boss if you may take it home. It depends upon your degree of responsibility in your job regarding the contractors as to whether you should confess this or not. I’d say confess it and let the priest decide.


You did what was not right. It is not yours and therefore you should not bring it home and use it for your own purpose. By now, there would be the usual amount of wear and tear, so it is too late already.

It is like what would a Christian do if he/she finds a wallet full of dollar notes lying on a sidewalk. You would not take the money and spend it as if it is your own. You would try to make an effort to return it by looking for the owner. Lost and found? Maybe.

Similarly for the fan, you would have made an effort to contact them and then take it from there. If they say they do not want it anymore, by all means, take it home and consider it yours. :wink:

God bless.

Stealing is taking something which belongs to someone else, as opposed to taking something which does not belong to you. There is a subtle difference between the two concepts. Thus abandoned property which has no owner can not be stolen. There is only one problem for the OP - technically, it might be said that the company whose office it is owns the fan. But as for the people who left it there ten months ago? They abandoned it!

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