My friend gifted me a bunch of useless crap, and I'm trying to sell garbage on offer up now. Can people get in trouble for unknowingly receiving stolen property and attempting to sell it? Or does one have to KNOWINGLY receive the stolen property? And what are the consequences?

I specifically asked my friend if any of this stuff was stolen and he said no.

  • If you think it's possibly stolen, you have an interesting definition of "friend".
    – Hilmar
    Sep 8, 2020 at 19:59

3 Answers 3


In theory its only a crime if you know, or reasonably suspect, that it is stolen.

The fact that you have to ask means that you have some level of suspicion, so that's not good to start with.

In practice merely being investgated by the police will bring you a world of hurt long before it gets to trial. How much can you afford to spend on legal fees, and will you be able to make bail?


No, not for having it/selling it

However the police will want to know how you came into possession of the property and may detain you for questioning. You may be asked to provide names, both for who you got it from and who you sold it to. The people you sold it to may sue you and you may not be able to recover that from your friend.

If you have any suspicion that the property may be stolen, walk away, it isn't worth the trouble to be questioned by police, detained, have to give your friends name and possibly provide testimony against them.


To add to the other answers, ownership or possession of goods obtained by theft is inferior to the ownership of the person from whom goods were stolen, even if the goods were received in good faith without knowledge of the defects. So, the true owners can take goods from you or someone you sold them to, without paying you any compensation, if they were stoeln.


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