Mitzvos Relating to Our Fellow Man
34: Returning Stolen Items
"If one sins and becomes guilty, he should return the item which he
stole." (Vayikra 5:23)
A person who has stolen is obligated to return a stolen item or its
monetary value to the original owner or his heirs.
The Rambam cautions us in Hilchos Geneivah (1:2) that we may not steal
even a tiny item. One may not steal even as a joke, with intention to
return the item (ibid.). One may also not buy stolen property from a
thief. This is a terrible sin, for it encourages the thief to continue
his crimes (ibid. 5:1).
If one did steal intentionally or unintentionally, he must return the
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and Torah.org.