Personal Property Law Section 256
1.If a finder takes possession of lost property while he is upon premises with respect to which his presence is a crime, the person in possession of the premises where the lost property was found shall have the rights of the finder as provided in § 254 (Disposition of lost property)section two hundred fifty-four of this chapter, if, before the property is delivered to the finder by the police, he files with the police having custody of the property a written notice asserting his rights.
2.If the finder is an officer or employee of the state or of a public corporation and takes possession of the property in the course of his official duty, the state or public corporation shall be deemed to be the finder for the the purposes of section two hundred fifty-four and section two hundred fifty-seven of this chapter. If, in any other case, the finder is an employee under a duty to deliver the lost property to his employer, the employer shall have the rights of the finder as provided in section two hundred fifty-four if, before the property is delivered to the finder by the police, he shall file with the police having custody of the property a written notice asserting such rights.
3.If either lost property deposited with the police or an instrument deposited with the police was discovered upon the enclosed safe deposit premises of a safe deposit company or safe deposit department of a bank, the police shall return it to the safe deposit company or bank at the expiration of six months from the date of deposit. Upon receipt thereof the safe deposit company or bank shall hold the property or instrument as bailee for the person entitled thereto. If such person has not claimed it at the expiration of fifteen years from the date it was returned by the police and the property or instrument has not been delivered to the state comptroller pursuant to an order of the supreme court as provided in Abandoned Property Law § 1310 (Voluntary disposition of miscellaneous property not otherwise subject to this chapter)section thirteen hundred ten of the abandoned property law, the safe deposit company or bank shall pay that portion of such property which consists of money to the comptroller as unclaimed property. The safe deposit company or bank shall sell such property as does not consist of money and shall sell such instrument at a public sale, and the proceeds from such sale, less the expenses of such sale, including the costs of any advertising, shall be paid to the state comptroller as unclaimed property. Any such property or instrument determined to be valueless at such sale shall be delivered to the comptroller as unclaimed property.
4.A person who finds or comes into possession of property or an instrument while he is in or on a transportation facility while it is being operated as such shall be subject to the provisions of this article if he leaves the transportation facility at any place in this state taking with him at the time of such departure property or an instrument found by him in or upon the transportation facility or found property or a found instrument of which he acquired possession while in or upon the transportation facility. In such case the place where he leaves the transportation facility taking the found property or instrument with him shall be deemed for the purposes of this article to be the place where the finding occurred or possession was acquired. For the purposes of subdivision four of § 252 (Found property and found instruments to be deposited with police)section two hundred fifty-two of this chapter, a transportation facility shall be deemed “premises” and “person in possession of the premises” shall include any person actually operating a transportation facility and any officer, agent or employee of the transportation company actually or apparently authorized to receive delivery of the property or instrument. For the purposes of subdivision three of section two hundred fifty-three, a transportation facility operated by a transportation company shall be deemed “premises” and the transportation company, or its officer, agent or employee authorized to act with respect to custody of lost and found property, shall be deemed to be the person in charge of such premises.
5.Except as otherwise prescribed pursuant to General Municipal Law § 250 (Lost and found property)section two hundred fifty of the general municipal law, if the person who reports the finding or acquisition of possession of found property or an instrument is (a) a transportation company subject to the provisions of an act of congress known as the “interstate commerce act,” as amended, or engaged in air transportation pursuant to certificate or permit of the civil aeronautics board issued pursuant to an act of congress known as the “civil aeronautics act of nineteen hundred thirty-eight,” as amended, and the property or instrument was found on a transportation facility operated by such transportation company or (b) a safe deposit company or bank and the property or instrument was found on enclosed safe deposit premises of such safe deposit company or of the safe deposit department of such bank, such transportation company, safe deposit company or bank shall not be required to deposit such property or instrument at the time the report is made, but shall within sixty days after it acquired possession of the property or instrument deposit such property or instrument with the police to whom the report was made, unless within such time the property has been returned to the owner or the instrument has been returned to a person entitled thereto. Such transportation company, safe deposit company or bank shall hold such property or instrument subject to inspection at any time by the police to whom the report was made or by the police designated by an agreement pursuant to General Municipal Law § 251 (Agreements between municipal corporations)section two hundred fifty-one of the general municipal law. A transportation company, safe deposit company or bank retaining possession of property or an instrument pursuant to this subdivision after report of its acquisition of possession thereof shall (a) give notice of its acquisition of possession of the instrument to each person whose name and address appears on the instrument or whose name so appears and whose address is known to it, and
(b)if such transportation company, safe deposit company or bank has reason to believe that a person has an interest in the property or instrument and reason to know his whereabouts, shall give notice to him of its possession. But this paragraph does not require that a transportation company give such notice or notices with respect to instruments enclosed in an article of baggage or in a briefcase, purse or like article at the time it acquired possession of such article.
6.If at any time an action or proceeding shall be commenced to determine the right to found property or to an instrument and written notice of such action shall be served upon the police having custody of the property or instrument, the police shall not thereafter deliver the property or instrument to any person except pursuant to court order.
7.This article does not supersede or limit any other statute or rule of law governing custody or disposition of articles in the custody of the police which constitute evidence of the commission of a crime, or which may not lawfully be possessed, or which may not lawfully be possessed without license.
Section 256 — Exceptions,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/PEP/256 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Dec. 9, 2023).