On November 16, 2016 the City of Plymouth located a large safe that was buried approximately two feet beneath the surface in Stayer Park. The City held a public opening of the safe on November 18 but, unfortunately, nothing of significant value was located within the safe. However, had something of significant value been found inside the safe an interesting legal question would have arisen: who owns the contents of the buried safe?
Wisconsin is one of only twelve states that recognizes a legal doctrine known as treasure trove. Under the treasure trove doctrine, title to found valuables belongs to the finder of the items unless the true owner can be identified. In essence, the age old adage “finders keepers” holds true in Wisconsin, unless the owner or his heirs comes forward to make a claim.
Pictured below is the safe that was found in Stayer Park.