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Beit Midrash-General-Shulchan Aruch-Returning Stolen Money Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

Yahrtzeit-Rav-Yosef-Karo-CaroThe 13th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yosef Karo: If a man steals an object from his neighbor's house and later returns it to its place without the owner knowing that he has returned it, then, if the owner knows that it has been stolen from him, the thief is not exempt, even when he has returned it, and he is responsible for it until the owner becomes aware that it has been returned, as, for example, when the owner counts his objects and finds them all there.

 

Nevertheless, the thief is relieved from responsibility once the owner counts them, even if the owner was not aware of it when the thief returned.

Consequently, if a thief stole some money and then added the money he had stolen in a sum he gave to the owner for some other purpose and the owner put all the money into his money bag, then, if the owner knows how much money he has, the thief has made proper restitution, since a man constantly counts his money and will become aware that the stolen money has been returned.

If the thief cast the money into an empty moneybag, he has not satisfied the requirements of the law and to still responsible for that which he had stolen until he informs the owner that he has returned the money.

If the owner is unaware that something was stolen from him, the thief has satisfied the requirements of the law as soon as he returns that which he had stolen, even if the owner had not counted his objects (Shulchan Aruch; Choshen Mishpat 355)

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