I was walking around near one of the dwarven ruins when a wanted criminal came up to me, gave me some gauntlets, and said not to lose them and he would be back. Can I drop them or sell without penalty?
This is the Fugitive random encounter. After giving you an item, another NPC will approach you and ask you if you've seen the fugitive that stole his item. Your choices are then to give back the item for a single coin, keep the item and give away the fugitive's location, or keep the item and lie about not having seen any fugitive. Despite what the fugitive says, he will never ask for the item back, and it can't be returned to him.