Can I sue for sneakers I left in the Laundromat for 20 minutes being stolen?

Q: Stepped out from laundromat for about 20 mins and my sneakers were stolen from the dryer.There were about 8 pairs. 3 were left, 5 taken. Asked owner to view the camera, to see who took it. He refused. Is there anything at all that I can do to fight this. It’s not so much that the items were taken, but that the owners don’t care enough to simply view the tape/recording. It was mid-morning around 10am. So many dryers, over 30 were available, so there was NO DEMAND for anyone to remove my items, but they did. I filed a police report nevertheless, but is there anything more that I can do? Thanks

A: You filed the police report which is good. I think you should document everything by making a written request to view the tape and repayment for your loss. Then, if no response and if you want to put time and money into this case, you may think about suing them at the local District Justice. I am not sure the Laundromat has an obligation under bailment law or under an implied contract theory as they didn’t take possession of your property. Is there a sign in the premises that says “we are not responsible for the loss of unguarded belongings”? You could be viewed as contributing to the situation by leaving your property in an almost public setting for 20 minutes. Plus, what is the value of used sneakers? I am not sure if your damages will be weighed in the amount equal to brand new shoes. If you write the letter, it may put pressure on them to turn it in to insurance, if that is possible. I am not sure a civil claim will go your way and would have to research bailments, implied contracts, etc. before advising you properly

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