OJ Simposon is under investigation by Las Vegas police for a theft at the Palace Station casino. He is accused of stealing sports memorabilia had been stolen. However, Simpson appears to have told the dealer (after being contacted) that the memorabilia had been stolen from him. This a common scene as people try to take possession of property or chattel that they insist belongs to them. Simpson did not use force, confronted the possessor, and removed the items in front of witnesses, according to accounts. Such use of “self-help” is discouraged but allowed under law in certain circumstances. Generally, as defined in the Second Restatement of Torts Section 101, such self-help is permitted when a person has wrongfully obtained possession of the chattel by force, fraud, or without claim of right. Here there was a claim of right and Simpson should have pursued legal avenues to secure the property. In the famous case of Kirby v. Foster in 1891, a Rhode Island court defined when force is appropriate in the recapture of chattels. As with Simpson, the parties in Kirby had different claims on the property. Under criminal law, courts will sometimes allow the recovery of stolen items depending on the jurisdiction. However, it is rarely advisable or necessary to do so. Indeed, having informed the dealer that the items were allegedly stolen, the dealer is subject to potential liability, including criminal liability, for selling such items. For the Simpson story, click here.