Yesterday, we reported the feel-good story of a woman who was reunited with her engagement ring after a kindhearted stranger did the right thing by returning her lost ring to NYC subway authorities. Today, the storyline flips upside-down as an Atlanta attorney is facing a felony charge and disbarment for allegedly failing to turn in a $10,500 diamond ring she found in a restaurant parking lot.
According to the Augusta Chronicle, Alexia Dawn Davis, 31, surrendered Tuesday to Columbia County authorities after being charged with the theft of lost or mislaid property.
Davis had found a diamond ring in the parking lot of an Augusta, Ga., Cracker Barrel restaurant on Feb. 7. Although a woman who was with Davis entered the restaurant and asked what to do if she found a ring, she chose not hand it to the store's management. Instead, she said that she would report her finding to the local sheriff's office. She didn't and Davis didn't.
When Jane G. Prater, 62, reported her ring missing five days later, deputies learned from restaurant employees that Davis' associate had commented about a ring.
The Columbia County sheriff’s office published surveillance video from the restaurant on Feb. 19 in an effort to identify the woman who found the ring. The same day, Davis turned the ring in, authorities said.
The Atlanta attorney, who works in the public defender's office, is now facing a felony charge because the ring is worth more than $1,500. Local statutes require that when “a person comes into control of property that they know to be lost or mislaid, they must take reasonable measures to restore the property to its owner.”
An attorney for Davis released this statement: “No matter what shadow the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s office tries to cast upon Ms. Davis’ impeccable reputation and her motives, the legal fact is that she did not appropriate the ring for her own use, which is the crime this statute is intending to cover. When she learned who the owner was through the postings online from the Sheriff’s office, she promptly turned it in. She knew it was valuable, but she had neither sold it nor wore the ring as if it was hers.”
According to published reports, most jurisdictions have now enacted laws requiring that the finder of lost property turn it in to the proper authorities; if the true owner does not arrive to claim the property within a certain period of time, the property is returned to the finder as his own, or is disposed of.
If convicted of a felony, the bar association would likely ask for Davis to be disbarred.