12 Essential Things You Can Scavenge from Cars when SHTF

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason January 30, 2017 13:32

12 Essential Things You Can Scavenge from Cars when SHTF

No post-apocalyptic movie is complete without the stripped hulks of a few cars lying around. They’re the perfect disaster scene dressing, because, of course, when society collapses vehicles will get abandoned. People run out of gas, have a mechanical failure or meet a roadblock, so they ditch their car and walk away. And, obviously, the cars get stripped because switched-on preppers aren’t going to leave all that useful stuff lying around.

We take cars for granted, but they’re complex machines stuffed with a lot of material and technology. A typical modern car is more than a ton of metal, plastic and electrics – and even if it’s been disabled by an accident or an EMP there’s a lot of stuff in there you can salvage and put to use. If the SHTF and you find an abandoned vehicle, don’t think “Junk”. It’s really a treasure stash of materials .

Just for safety’s sake, make very sure a vehicle is abandoned before you get your pliers out and start ripping bits off. If the owner has just parked up and gone behind a bush to do his business, he isn’t going to be very happy when he comes back and finds you happily stripping his car down to a skeleton. Once you’re certain nobody’s coming back for it, though, start scavenging. Here are some suggestions:

Related: 8 Tips To NEVER Get Your Car Stolen

1. Cabin clutter

Check the glove box, door pockets, console and under the seats. People keep all sorts of things in their cars, and if they abandon the vehicle in a hurry they might leave some useful stuff behind. Flashlights, maps – very useful if GPS is down – and food are all likely items.

Always check the trunk. Some people always keep emergency gear in their car and, depending on why they abandoned it, they might have left the gear behind. Others might have been trying to escape whatever disaster has happened, and loaded the car with possessions before they left. Trunks are a potential source of spare clothes, food, blankets, even camping gear.

2. Tools

Many cars come with tool-kits, so check the trunk. Pliers, screwdrivers and wrenches are always good to have. Even if you already have tools there’s no harm in picking up some spares.

3. Fuel

In a disaster scenario a lot of the cars you find will be abandoned because they ran out of fuel – but others will still have some in the tank. With a length of hose and a pry bar you can get the filler caps off and siphon the remaining fuel out into a container. Just feed one end of the hose into the tank, suck on the other end until the fuel almost reaches your mouth – the almost is important – then quickly lower that end until it’s below the other one and let the fuel flow out into your canister. Even if you already have a fuel reserve for your own vehicle and generator, a bit more won’t hurt.retrieving gas from car

Never try to drain a gas tank by punching a hole in it. Real gas tanks aren’t as explosive as the Hollywood kind, but there’s still a risk of a spark setting off the vapor inside. If you’re nearby when that happens it’s going to ruin your day.

Related: Best Fuels For Off-Grid Survival

4. Fluids

If you carry a survival kit you should keep some potassium permanganate crystals in it. This has a lot of uses, including water purification and as a disinfectant, but if you can drain some antifreeze from a vehicle you can also use it to start a fire. Mix the two 50:50 and in a few seconds it will ignite.

Oil, brake fluid and screen wash can also be drained from vehicles and used to top up your own. Screen wash also makes a useful disinfectant – it’s a mix of water and alcohol.

5. Battery

If you have solar panels or a wind turbine at home, and you know some basic electrics, you can rig a bank of car batteries to store excess power and use it when it’s dark or the wind isn’t blowing. The more batteries, the more power you can store; never pass up the chance to collect another one and wire it into your system.

6. Wiring

Copper wire has a lot of uses, and vehicles contain yards of it. An hour’s work with some basic tools will get you a collection of cables in various sizes. These can be used for electrical projects or stripped to get at the wire. Copper wire is a great material for making snares.

Related: Getting Aluminum From Aluminum Cans for Survival

7. Hub caps

A lot of vehicle snow have allow wheels, and the ones that do have hub caps often have plastic ones, but if you do find some old-fashioned metal hub caps they can be useful – for example, scrub one clean and use it as an improvised skillet.

8. Mirrors

A mirror is a good way to send distress signals, but the steel ones found in survival kits aren’t great. A salvaged rearview mirror will do a much better job. Wing mirrors are hard to get off the car, but the actual mirror can be pried out with a knife.

9. Upholstery

There’s a lot of fabric in a car, some of it very hard wearing. If you’re sleeping rough, seat covers will make a good waterproof groundsheet to keep the damp away from you. The headliner will make a light blanket – it’s not that warm, but a lot better than nothing.

10. Seat belts

Need straps? Lengths of seat belt are extremely strong. Pull them out to full extension then slice them off at the reel. Lengths of seat belt make ideal straps for an improvised rucksack, or for lashing loads on a wagon or sled. Multiple lengths fastened between two poles give you an effective stretcher. You can cut the belts lengthwise into narrower strips if you need more length and less strength, but check every so often to make sure it’s not starting to fray. If you have the time you can unravel the fabric to get tough fibers that work for fishing line, sewing thread or – after boiling – sutures.seat belt shtf

11. Bodywork

If you can haul large chunks of steel around, you’ll find uses for them. Doors, trunk lids and hoods can be used to build lean-to(s) or animal enclosures. A hood will make a strong, weatherproof roof for a small shed.

Related: 3 Quick Shelters (The Last One is Invisible!)

12. Spare parts

Finally, and most obviously, look out for abandoned vehicles the same make and model as your own – and when you find one, strip out everything you can. If you can tow it home, or get a truck and chain-fall to it, that even includes the engine. The more parts you have, the lower the chance of your own one being terminally immobilized by a breakdown.

Look for generic parts as well. Air and oil filters, wiper blades, bulbs and fuses – anything that will fit yours and can be scrounged.

Abandoned vehicles can be a nuisance. They block roads, generally clutter the place up and can even be a fire hazard. They’re also a valuable resource, though. In an emergency situation you should never walk past an abandoned car without searching it for anything useful, and in the long term you should locate every hulk within range of your home and strip it bare. You might never need the materials you recover, but who knows? If you ever do need a dozen hubcaps in a hurry, it’s easier to get them from a stack in your yard than to try and remember where you’ve seen some.

You may also like:

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Top 10 Vehicles for Your EMP Survival

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Avoid The Lines – How to Store Fuel Long Term

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason January 30, 2017 13:32
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54 Comments

  1. CelticCoyote January 30, 16:23

    Make sure you take the tires and wheels also. They can be used to build carts or replace your own if you get a blowout.

    Reply to this comment
  2. left coast chuck January 30, 16:55

    It may be necessary to punch the fuel tank. Modern automobiles in the U.S. have anti-siphon devices in the filler neck. If you are going to punch the tank make sure you have a brass punch or a pointed wooden dowel in order to not make a spark. You can sometimes drain the tank from under the car by disconnecting a from the tank to the fuel distribution system.

    Reply to this comment
  3. The Holistic Prepper January 30, 17:04

    Great post, but I’d like to add that the mechanically incline with tools can remove leaf springs from vehicles that have them, and use the flat pieces to make great knives, and swords, and the curved pieces can be used for make shift body armor with a little imagination.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Skimbo's January 30, 17:34

    Wheel weights can be melted down.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 30, 20:22

      The newer wheel weights are not made of lead any more.. I don’t know what the metal composition is, but only older cars have lead wheel weights on them if they have been on for a while.

      Reply to this comment
      • Screech February 4, 15:15

        Newer ones are made of Zinc. Do not mix the two for making bullets nothing but one big contamination problem.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Dovecalling January 30, 17:35

    Wait a minute! This is still “stealing”. I’d be cautious about stripping down someone else’s car. It still belongs to them; and what if they are gone for only a short time and come back. . . Either way, it doesn’t belong to you. Remember the Golden Rule.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 30, 20:27

      Notice the article said to first ascertain that the owner is not just taking a potty break behind some trees. If all the the are flat and all the glass is broken out and the seats are covered with long dried blood, chances are the owner will not be back. Even if the gas is gone, you can siphon out the crankcase oil and the tranny fluid. Both make thick black smoke if you need a signal fire. I would be very careful using the windshield washer fluid for anything but cleaning windows. Some of them have ammonia in them in addition to alcohol, plus other substances. Not all the windshield cleaners are alcohol and water mixes.

      Reply to this comment
    • Barb January 30, 21:30

      Amen! It is stealing and that won’t help anyone.

      Reply to this comment
    • Robby February 5, 06:21

      I do believe they are talking about abandoned cars like something you might see in shows like The Walking Dead. Ones that no one is coming back for and are junk for the most part.

      Reply to this comment
    • SHTFgurl May 3, 02:55

      In this kind of shtf scenario I doubt stripping an abandoned car is a first priority of the police… if there are even any police.

      Reply to this comment
    • Shdwolf1 May 3, 09:30

      Really?? Um, I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about someone stripping your car if/when shtf. Your kind of outlook, sticking to a morality that no longer applies, will make you one of the first casualties. ijs.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Raymoon January 30, 18:39

    Get the air bag it makes a great home security item

    Reply to this comment
    • sparky8920 February 15, 22:16

      Would you elaborate? I am a scavenger and prepper and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to use an airbag for home security. You have certainly peaked my curiosity.

      Reply to this comment
      • Sticks February 16, 04:31

        It’s an explosive charge with a built in 12v igniter. Remove the bag and be creative.

        Reply to this comment
        • sparky8920 February 16, 14:22

          Dude that is brilliant!! Thank you sir!

          Reply to this comment
          • Raymoon February 16, 22:29

            Glad at least 2 people understand the value of the device. If some one is trying to break your down this could be used to change their mind. It will take some thinking but easily achievable. Correct me if I am wrong but I think a nine volt battery will activate it.

            Reply to this comment
            • Raymoon February 16, 22:34

              I meant to say break your door down.

              Reply to this comment
              • Raymoon February 16, 22:46

                One more thing disconnect the barratry first. If you are not mechanically inclined or accident prone you should not attempt this ! Many have been hurt by not disconnecting battery .

                Reply to this comment
    • Red Baron February 16, 23:17

      Even in a functinal vehicle if the electrical system is not energized (key in off postion and enhine shut down) ut should be safe to remive airbag. Regardless, I’d follow Raymoon’s advice and disconnect power.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Lynn January 30, 20:23

    Our time would be better spent banding together and helping one another. How would you feel if you had to leave your vehicle for a few days or longer, and you came back to get it? What would you want to find?

    Reply to this comment
    • Shdwolf1 May 3, 09:39

      I think you’re talking from a different perspective. Obviously, if it’s a brief outage, that is expected to be cleared quickly, and life will resume as normal, then yeah, you make a valid point. But, if the grid is down, and it’s down to survival of the fittest, or most resourceful, all bets are off, and ownership of an abandoned vehicle belongs to those there to defend it.
      If people have fled entire neighborhoods, and even cities, trying to survive, yeah, band together for strength in numbers, but lose the sense of ownership, it won’t apply in the new world. ijs

      Reply to this comment
  8. Red Baron January 30, 20:24

    Take the radio and battery, and fashion an antenna out of wire or the car’s antenna if it has one. Place this antenna as high as you can on a roof, or tree (use additional wire for this). After you wire the battery to the radio, monitor AM/FM stations that would be transmitting to get a status of other locations. In the evenings and depending on weather, the AM spectrum is loaded with radio transmissions. You may even pick up foreign stations that could be discussing what has happened if no stations are transmitting here at home.

    Reply to this comment
    • BKPawpaw May 15, 20:16

      Red Baron, sorry to be the one to mention this but – SHTF means ALL normal things are OUT-THE-DOOR!

      The only ‘foreign’ stations that would be available on AM are MEXICAN.

      You seem to be thinking of Shortwave and those are NOT going to be found in ‘abandoned’ vehicles.

      Reply to this comment
      • Red Baron May 15, 21:41

        BKPawpaw: with all due respect, some parts of the Eastern US are close to the Bahamas and Bermuda. That said, I have been able to listen to stations very far flung from the coast of Florida where I reside. Reference how radio works and you will find that with a simple AM radio and a long antenna, when the weather is right you can receive signals from stations many hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Just to illustrate, when Amelia Earhart was lost in the Pacific, some of her transmissions were heard as far as NJ. Obviously those listening had no idea what they were listening to. And those were simple AM radios. Thanks for your observation.

        Reply to this comment
  9. Joe January 30, 23:11

    Some really nice tips there, thank you so much. Just added quite a few to my list.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Dennis January 30, 23:59

    A lot of vehicle snow have allow wheels, ???

    Reply to this comment
    • Red Baron January 31, 00:03

      I think it’s a typo and they meant “vehicles now”…

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 31, 00:17

        And it should be alloy wheels instead of allow wheels. I don’t know if it is Dennis’ typing or predictive. I find typos all the time that I know I didn’t make because predictive changed what I had typed. I find more and more I have to go back and re-read what I have typed and even when I make corrections sometimes predictive won’t allow them.

        Reply to this comment
  11. Raymoon January 31, 01:09

    Well maybe we should take stuff from cars that belong to democrats .

    Reply to this comment
  12. left coast chuck January 31, 03:00

    This particular article I see has raised some ethical questions. Is taking abandoned property stealing? Under ordinary common law, abandoned property is just that: abandoned. The owner has given up his right of ownership. The question that arises is: at what point may one consider property abandoned? As I suggested in my earlier post, if all the tires are flat, all the widows are broken out and the seats are covered with long dried blood, one most likely can consider the property abandoned by the deceased owners. A car parked along the side of the road all nicely buttoned up with no visible damage, in all probability, not abandoned. It is not and never has been a crime to make use of abandoned property. It is, of course, wrongful conversion or theft to take property that is temporarily stored in public. It can be a felony depending upon the value of the property taken and the laws relating to the level at which theft of property rises to the felony level. So let me give an example. Three of my neighbors, both the husband and wife have a 75 mile commute one way each day. In the event of an EMP resulting in loss of vehicular mobility, a 75 mile walk is going to take a good ten days. If, after two weeks, they haven’t shown up, I am going to assume that they have either decided not to return to their home or are unable to do so. At that point, I do not think using items from their home is stealing. I think at that point it has become abandoned. Should they show up three months later, I would expect that I would do my utmost to return them to the state that they left. That would exclude anything that would have spoiled in 3 months time. Some might castigate me for stealing. I do not consider using abandoned property to be stealing. If there is an end of the world situation, we all will become scavengers. The line to be drawn is between stealing and scavenging. As with many things in life, there most certainly is a gray zone in that line. Yes, if I put a gun to your ribs and take your food, that is stealing. If I go in a burned out grocery store and find some cans of food that haven’t been destroyed and take them that clearly is scavenging. Does it make a difference that the cans belonged to a faceless corporation as opposed to the neighbor three doors down from me? Is taking clothes from an almost empty Walmart okay but taking clothes from my neighbor’s closet when he hasn’t been around for a couple of months somehow evil? I am not so much of an absolutist that I can make a clear distinction between the two. I am sure that there are some reading this who would deplore my, in their view, lack of ethics. There are others who would say, “Wow, you are going to get left behind in the race to survive. By the time you get around to plundering your neighbors’ houses everything worth taking will be already taken by those with fewer scruples.” In my view, this is a significant topic and needs serious consideration by each of us so that we have a moral lodestone that we can follow.

    Reply to this comment
    • Red Baron January 31, 03:23

      I wholeheartedly agree with you and I believe our view and understanding of the situation is the same: a major doomsday event has occurred and people are bugging out, or trying to get back home. This changes the whole equation. Depending on the nature of the event (ie: EMP) some vehicles may not be functional anymore. In this situation and if I’m bugging out or hoofing it back home and run into a pile of cars on the freeway with no one around, I would not hesitate to scavenge and use whatever resources I may find in these vehicles. I seriously doubt any owners would come back to a vehicle that won’t start. And no, it wouldn’t be stealing. I call that surviving at TEOTWAWKI

      Reply to this comment
    • Justin January 31, 12:12

      But we can still shoot looters and thieves, right?

      Property rights are not subjectively based on some determination of ownership made by a would be thief. Say I’m your neighbor at your BOL or vacation property, can I consider your property abandoned after 10 days as well?

      My bottom line is if you take property that isn’t yours and get away with it you can call your actions whatever you like, but if the owners or other interested party catch you then they’ll probably call it theft and respond accordingly.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck February 2, 00:45

        Justin: IF you read my post, I qualified it. I gave them 15 days to go 75 miles. That works out to 5 miles a day. Even under extreme conditions, an adult should be able to cover 5 miles a day even with E&E maneuvers thrown in. Notice I also said that if they showed up 3 months later I would expect to reimburse them with like for like, less what would have turned totally rotten in 3 months. Tomatoes sitting out on the counter will be a totally smelly mess in 3 months if they have not actually mummified. Milk in the refrigerator — well, you get the idea. My BOL is 385 miles away. Even making 20 miles a day, that’s 20 days of heavy duty walking. So if I show up on day 21 and you have plundered everything I have stowed, yeah, you might get perforated. OTOH, 90 days later and I haven’t showed up, well, then you might consider that I might never show up. As I indicated in my post, while there certainly are clear black and white areas, there are also larger areas of gray. At least my post has opened a dialog and people have started to think about how they would respond to an EOTW situation and other’s property. I don’t claim to have all the answers, hell, I don’t even know all the questions, but at least folks who have been following these posts have, hopefully, started thinking about the problem

        Reply to this comment
    • Justin February 2, 11:57

      LCC: Have you discussed this plan with your neighbors? Maybe they’d agree you should take all their perishables on day 3 and give you a spare house key so you wouldn’t have to break in to get them, or maybe they’d tell you they had made plans to stay elsewhere for a couple weeks before starting the 15-day trek for home which means you’d have to wait 30 days before declaring their property “abandoned”. If there’s nothing morally or legally wrong with your plan then there’s no reason to keep it hidden from them anyway. If it were me, I’d probably ask why you don’t just acquire more of your own food and supplies now so you wouldn’t need to steal mine later, and add that I’d certainly understand if someone broke in and stole my property if their immediate survival depended on it, shelter from the cold or out of food or water, but that it sounded like you were planning this just to add to your own stockpile before it was really necessary to do so. Unless I misunderstood that is what you’re suggesting here, right? Taking other people’s property not because you needed it to survive at that moment but justin case you needed it later. Take what you want before someone less deserving gets it.

      Personally, I think the sooner we start perforating looters and thieves following a major disaster the safer everyone in the community will be.

      Reply to this comment
      • Red Baron February 2, 14:51

        I don’t think some folks in this thread really grasp the seriousness and enormity of what we’re talking about here.

        Justin, you raise a valid point. But LCC also has a valid point. I think we all (or most of us) have the basics taken care of, like water, food, shelter, and protection. But, if after I run out of food (which could be many months after SHTF) I see that my neighbor’s home is still empty, I think it’s reasonable to assume they’re not going to make it back. In that case, yes, I would enter their property and take whatever resources I can find. If they show up after those many months, by all means I would help them because no doubt they would have been thru quite an ordeal to get back. Would they be pissed off? maybe, maybe not. I think by that time they would be in a frame of mind to understand my actions and that of others. In our everyday normal life of course I respect private property, but the situation we’re talking about here is one of life, or death. Pure, raw survival. I bet you Justin would not hesitate to do the same once hunger starts needling your stomach, much sooner if you have kids at home hungry and desperate.

        Ventilating looters and thieves? you bet. Banding together with neighbors and surrounding community? absolutely, there will be no ‘lone wolf’ survivors, at least not for long. Like LCC said, this is gray, uncharted territory. In a survival, TEOTWAWKI situation we would hope to continue living up to certain standards of morals, honesty, and civility. But, make no mistake: those standards will be thoroughly tested when that time comes.

        Reply to this comment
    • Justin February 4, 13:21

      RB: You’re correct that I’d steal if I thought it necessary to do so to survive. If it’s not mine but I need it to survive, and I can’t obtain it some other way, I’ll steal it. It’s not scavenging unless I’m picking through garbage cans or dumpsters, nor is any private property abandoned after some arbitrary number of days have past. There’s no gray area, and there’s nothing new under the sun, acquiring property can be done by buying, begging, borrowing, or stealing it.

      That’s really my only point, that we acknowledge it for what it is and not pretend otherwise, because it might be your “abandoned” property someone is trying to “scavenge”. That’s where the seriousness and enormity of the situation really comes into play if the thief is caught in the act.

      Reply to this comment
    • black Panther February 22, 15:48

      Wonderful Article! Thou I’m Not Sure some People Understand What : SURVIVAL MEANS!!! ( When U are faced with it; The unimaginable Happens)…..

      Reply to this comment
    • Shdwolf1 May 3, 10:10

      To all replying, I believe Chuck has a valid argument here: at some point, the concept of personal property is going to be abandoned. My thought is, the distinction occurs when government fails, and no one is there to defend their property rights. If neighbors have worked out plans, and are able to maintain order, those same property rights will likely remain in effect. But, if it’s a survival situation, you haven’t heard from your neighbor, and no one is there to enforce claims to ownership, yeah, their house, vehicles, supplies, gardens, and what not, are fair game.
      If the dilemma for you is whether, or when, it’s ok to consider someone else’s “property” fair game, just make sure that time isn’t after someone else has laid claim to what you’re coveting.

      Reply to this comment
  13. TJ January 31, 11:58

    I DEFINITELY AGREE WITH LAST 2 COMMENTS 👍 THANK U 4 ADVICE 💗

    Reply to this comment
  14. Illini Warrior January 31, 16:37

    in regard to “fluids” you don’t mention two of the most important and largest volume – motor lub oil and the transmission fluid … both can be wicked for lamp oil usage ….

    Reply to this comment
  15. Rick Fortune January 31, 19:51

    Drag the dead dogs home, and use them for improvised “jersey” barrier. Arranged in a staggered “chicane” they will slow or block a fast advance to your driveway, yard or subdivision.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 1, 04:45

      Actually, in an EOTW situation, there will be plenty of dead cars in the subdivision to block streets. Plan to move them to street entrances, pull off the wheels and let them sit on the ground. That way should intruders come in with some kind of equipment that survived, vehicles without wheels will be much harder to push out of the way. They can be used to direct intruders into fields of fire. They, of course, will be known distances and arms can be already sighted in. This is especially important for defensive pistol at longer ranges. A .357 magnum will take a man down at 300 yards if his weapon is sighted in and he knows how it must be held to be on target. I have considered using dry brush to be ignited by crossbows with incendiary heads, but without practical application, don’t know how that will work. Considering various methods to set tires on fire at the barricades as the dense black, toxic smoke from tires is almost like using poison gas. Any suggestions for setting tires on fire at 200 to 300 yards would be appreciated.

      Reply to this comment
  16. lc65 March 31, 14:50

    How about the alternator, regulator and starting motor ? You can hook up to a windmill or water wheel and generate electricity.

    Reply to this comment
    • Miker April 12, 15:53

      your best source of a dc motor will be the cooling fan! and it comes with it’s own blades for a DC windmill. the alternator will require an “exciter” electrical pulse to start it’s generation.

      Reply to this comment
  17. Shdwolf1 May 3, 09:58

    All valid comments, and suggestions. Disheartening is the assumption of clinging to a morality that will likely get you killed if shtf. Some of you argued about “ownership”, and basically respecting property rights as if law and order still reigned. If shtf, I think it’s safe to say that the concept of ownership will only apply to those willing and able to defend what’s theirs. If survivors have banded together, a moral code will likely also play a role in differentiating between what is mine, or yours. But, after the breakdown of society, and in the absence of any form of cohesive leadership or government, modern day standards of decency, morality, right, wrong, acceptable, and unacceptable, will change.
    Should we lose our sense of morality? Absolutely not, but if we’re not able to realize, and accept, that not everyone else will share our own levels of morality, we may end up being among the first victims.
    My Air Force unit had a motto: In God We Trust, All Others We Monitor. I think this would be a good motto to carry into the new world, if shtf. ijs

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 4, 18:13

      I think many overlooked the statements I made about abandoned property. Usually the local political entity will declare personal property abandoned. With regard to financial property in the custody of others, every state has laws regarding escheat which is where the state lays claim to property they declare to be abandoned. In some states it is as little as a year. If you leave funds in a bank account for a year and there is no account activity, the state will declare it escheated and take the money. You can file to get it back but it is a hassle. To give an recent example. A homeowner in this tract had a car in his driveway. All the tires were flat. He had not registered it with the DMV since 2008. I thought the house was empty because of the weeds growing up by the front door. His next door neighbor told me that he lived in the house and went to work every day but that the back yard was like a jungle. He said the neighbor on the other side mowed the front yard once a month to hold down the weeds. One day as I walked past I noticed the car was gone. The neighbor said the city came and towed it away. They had apparently declared the car either a blight or abandoned and seized it from his property even though he lived there and owned the vehicle. In an EOTW situation with no viable government visible, the legal theory of abandonment will still apply as it is an ancient common law principle. The question is: At what point would the “reasonable man” (which is the standard juries are instructed to use in determining whether conduct is legal or illegal) find that the property was abandoned and therefore subject to use by someone other than the original owner? While in normal times, a year might be reasonable in a situation where there is no government and basically no enforced law, perhaps a shorter time frame would be reasonable. So there is a standard for determining when property becomes abandoned and susceptible to use by others, it is at what point would the “reasonable man” decide that the property was abandoned. In California only 9 out of 12 need agree that the conduct met the reasonable man standard. Three can disagree, but the majority will rule. Without courts and juries, you will have to decide if your conduct will meet with the approval of your peers or whether your conduct will cause you to be treated as a criminal. I suggest that in a society where there is no facility for incarceration or other non-fatal punishment, most punishment for crime will be death in order to prevent recidivism. Today there is no death penalty in any state for stealing food, no matter the value of the food. In an EOTW situation, stealing food could well mean death for the victim of the crime and so the punishment for stealing food might well be the death penalty. Stealing any goods, clothing, food, water could result in the death penalty, There is a case from the 19th century, in the California Supreme Court decisions of a man who was hanged for stealing a $200 barrel of flour. Wow! Times have changed in the Peepul’s Republic! As I recall from reading the case, the Supreme Court didn’t have a problem with the sentence, they had mild criticism about the fact that the criminal was sentenced on Wednesday and hanged on Saturday morning. They felt the execution was a bit hasty but certainly not in violation of any law. In an EOTW situation, I feel what passes for law and order will revert to the less fastidious form of justice that existed in the earlier years of our country wherein the California Supreme Court justices didn’t have a problem with hanging the thief, they just thought that 60 hours between sentence and execution might possibly be a trifle hasty but not so hasty as to warrant overturning the judgment and sentence.

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