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Police: Taking fountain coins not illegal

Aug. 27, 2008 at 7:10 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Police in New York said taking change from a fountain in front of City Hall is not illegal after a man was spotted mining the fountain for coins.

Witnesses reported a man taking nickels, dimes and quarters that had been thrown into the fountain as a traditional gesture of good luck or wish-making, but police said the practice of taking coins from the fountain is not against the law, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

"Unless there are other varying factors, like public drunkenness, then no (it's not a crime)," a police source said.

The practice is, however, unusual, said Gene Nervina, 73, whose company handles the plumbing for the fountain.

"I've never seen it happen. I find it really odd," Nervina said.

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