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If something is borrowed and then stolen do I have to go to court to get it back?

Tampa, FL |

I let my friend hold an item of mine and after that she stole it claiming she will not give it back unless i pay her. I talked to someone at the sheriffs office and they told me I would have to take her to court. Is this true and if so is there anyway to avoid going to court?

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Attorney answers 4


Apparently the sherrif was suggesting that he thought you should pursue the case in civil court by filing law suit. Depending on how much the item is worth determines which court to sue in. Small claims court may bhe a possibility.

Any response given is not to be taken as legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship.


Sounds to me like a matter for small claims court.


It could be litigated in civil court but it also meets the elements of criminal theft as well.


I bet your friend has a different version of the story. Something like, You gave me this "item" and now you're trying to get it back. Seems like a silly thing but its actually one of the oldest problems and may be the genesis of the old saying that "possession is nine tenths of the law." If you did "take her to court" how will you prove your case, that is, that she "stole" it from you? Alternatively, how will you disprove her case, that is that you "gave it to her?" What evidence do you have? It's a more interesting little problem than it appears because just on its face, it's a classic he said, she said, so how does the court decide it? Are you prepared to answer the question why did you let your friend "hold" it? If I was the judge that would be my first question. Another question is what is the value of the "item?" Is it worth the trouble? Only you can decide that.