SMITHFIELD, Massetchussets — 56-year-old Robert Melaragno received an unexpected package at his home recently: a brand-new, 65-inch, curved Samsung TV.
Delivery crews brought the new 4k TV to his home by mistake. Drivers realized shortly afterward they mixed up two similar street names. When they returned to correct their goof, Melaragno refused to give up the TV.
The Providence NBC 10 I-Team reports when Smithfield police showed up to Melaragno’s home, he informed them that he was a veteran cop working in nearby Providence and wasn’t doing anything illegal.
“According to the police narrative,” NBC 10 says, “he even handed them a computer print out of a Google search, which had language citing the Federal Trade Commission and reasoning for keeping any items delivered to you as free gifts.”
It took two days of negotiating with Melaragno before he finally handed the misdelivered television over.
“He wasted town resources,” a Smithfield detective told NBC 10.
Legal analyst Mark Dana says that the old adage “finders keepers” doesn’t apply to packages delivered by mistake.
“If you are unjustly enriched, whether it be an extra TV or extra money or something else, your best bet is to return it,” she says.
Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements says that once they learned about Detective Melaragno’s interactions with the Smithfield Police, they conducted their own internal investigation and deemed his behavior “inappropriate;” he will be held accountable.
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