Richy is a superstar athlete. One day, he tosses his shoes in the trash can next to his house. Paul takes the shoes and sells them for $10,000. Richy sues Paul for conversion and wins. Paul argues that Richy abandoned his shoes, but the court concludes that Richy did not voluntarily relinquish all rights to their control. As unlikely as it seems, Richy could have removed the shoes from his trash can once they dried out and worn them again. Paul loses all money from the sale of Richy's shoes.
Next summer, Richy throws his watch into the same trash can. He then puts the trash can on the curb for collection. Paul follows the garbage truck and finds the watch before it is placed in the landfill. Paul sells the watch for $1 million. This time, Paul gets to keep the money. By voluntarily placing the watch on the curb for collection, Richy relinquished all rights to its control. Since the watch was abandoned by its previous owner, Paul was free to claim it and dispose of it for money.