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Iowa Police Confused by Hot Dog Man Statue

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 15, 2011 6:47 AM

Officers with Iowa's Council Bluffs Police Department were dispatched earlier this month when a concerned citizen reported a man dressed in a hot dog costume standing near a school bus stop.

Turns out that the suspect was none other than a 6-foot-tall Hot Dog Man statute sporting an American flag cape and a pair of sneakers.

Police have taken the statue into custody and are treating it as a "found property" case. So, is the Hot Dog Man statute lost, mislaid, or abandoned property?

As you may have heard in passing, a Good Samaritan who finds a wallet on the street is obligated to turn it into police for safekeeping. This is because a property owner does not relinquish title to items that are lost or mislaid.

Lost property is that with which an owner has involuntarily parted, and property is mislaid when an owner forgets where it has been placed.

If a property owner intentionally relinquishes possession with no intent to return, then it is abandoned, and generally up for grabs.

Depending on the jurisdiction, a person who fails to report lost or mislaid property to police may violate theft laws if he chooses to keep the item. He could also be sued for trespass by the true owner, who still retains legal rights to the property.

Some states and cities are also nice enough to "gift" found property to a Good Samaritan if its owner fails to come forward after a certain amount of time.

Unfortunately for residents of Council Bluffs, KETV reports that a man has called local police claiming that the Hot Dog Man statute belongs to his son. He is likely no longer up for grabs.

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