How to Determine Ownership of a Bike When Theft is Involved

Who does the bike belong to in a scenario where the bike was stolen and later improved by the thief?

a. the state under an estray statute

b. Sue because Rob stole it

c. Rob because he improved it substantially

d. Rob and Sue as co-owners

Final answer:

The bike belongs to b. Sue because Rob stole it.


In this scenario, the bike originally belonged to Sue. Rob stole the bike, which means he wrongfully took possession of someone else's property. Even though Rob repaired, painted, and replaced parts on the bike, these actions do not change the fact that he obtained the bike through theft.

According to the general principles of law, stolen property remains the property of the original owner. Therefore, the bike still belongs to Sue, and she has the right to claim it back.

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