Finders of lost or abandoned property are conceded by many legal codes to have a right to ownership in the absence of counter-claims. Finders, fearful of claims, often conceal the essential fact of, or details concerning, their finds, this making recovery of lost objects exceptionally difficult.
Finders of objects of historical, artistic and archaeological or other scientific interest that have been misplaced in private or public collections, storage areas and the like, may remove these for their own gain. Lost pets are infrequently returned; lost jewellery almost never.
There are inadequate public mechanisms to record notices of lost property; to publicize these; or to standardize incentive schemes to promote restitution to rightful owners. This reflects considerable moral indifference and is tantamount to sanctioning what is, in effect, simple theft.