Weird wrap: ‘finders-keepers’ defence fails in court

Teacher showing losers weepers finders keepers on blackboard. Stock photo by Getty Images

“Finders-keepers” might be a compelling argument for kids, but it didn’t work for a 25-year-old woman in an Alberta courtroom.

Shantel Freeman was fined $1,100 for trying to sell a laptop she found on an Edmonton sidewalk last Christmas. Owner Shabab Haque had been unloading bags from his car and accidentally left behind a suitcase containing the laptop.

Freeman found the laptop and quickly posted a Kijiji ad to sell it off. One of Haque’s friends saw the ad and they set up a sting operation with an undercover cop.

Provincial Court Judge Steven Bilodeau said it’s a “big deal” to steal someone’s computer, given the abundance of personal information they may contain.

He advised Freeman that simply finding something doesn’t constitute ownership, and that she should have turned it in to be reunited with the owner.

Binging burglar arrested

A real-life Goldilocks went on a break-and-enter binge in Dundas, Ont. last week, sneaking into two different homes to steal food and have a nap.

Hamilton Police say a 26-year-old man broke into a home around 2:30 a.m. last Monday and binged on pizza and wine. Too much wine, apparently, because the homeowner walked in later that morning and found the intruder snoozing on his bed.

He kicked the stranger out and called police. In the meantime, the suspect had seen a neighbor drive off, so decided to stroll into that house, have a drink and watch TV.

He proceeded to raid the fridge, unaware that a 16-year-old girl was in the house watching his every move. She called police, who nabbed the man.

Police confirmed the suspect isn’t homeless.

Pocket-dials deluge 911

We’ve written before about the problems with fake 911 calls, whether they’re pranks, swatting or just a pocket-dial. A remarkable statistic from on Ontario city shows just how big a problem it is.

Windsor 911 services revealed this week that one in four calls received in 2014 was a “no-voice contact” call. That’s more than 21,000 calls, or about 58 calls per day.

Last week, they received 12 calls in one hour from a toddler playing with a cellphone.

A 911 services spokesperson told the CBC it takes up to 20 minutes to investigate each call. Even when there’s no voice contact, it could mean someone is choking or otherwise unable to speak, so operators have to confirm there’s no real emergency.

There’s usually no punishment for accidental 911 calls, but frivolous or “vexatious” calls can merit fines and even jail time. So be careful with the phone, and maybe keep it away from kids.

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