Small-Town U.S.A.’s Lost And Found

20220217 Cops PropertyChiefMcGuire 1202x800

Cellphones, debit playing cards, passports, even a giraffe

Among the eccentricities saved within the Sag Harbor Village Police Department property room is an underwater scooter, as displayed by Chief Austin J. McGuire.

“Cellphone, cellphone, pockets, cellphone, automotive keys, pockets, pockets. . . . Underwater scooter.”

So started a go to final week to the Sag Harbor Village Police Department’s property room, the place every thing that individuals flip in as “discovered property,” or that officers occur to seek out whereas on patrol, awaits reunion with its proprietor. The property room is a brief distance down the corridor from the proof room; in between, a few bicycles lean in opposition to the hall wall, additionally ready to be claimed.

“You make each try” to assist individuals get their stuff again, says Chief Austin J. McGuire. Sgt. Michael Labrozzi “has been spending a whole lot of time returning issues. Passport? Bring it to the publish workplace. Debit card? Bring it to the financial institution.”

But that underwater scooter, he mentioned, in all probability isn’t going wherever anytime quickly.

It’s a lot the identical in East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village, and each different native legislation enforcement company. Calling the police to report discovering one thing, or to seek for one thing that’s been misplaced, is small-town America’s lost-and-found system.

An issue, says Officer Raymond Rau, supervisor of the city police property room, is that individuals don’t all the time suppose to name once they’ve misplaced one thing beneficial. That’s how the division has wound up with dozens of things — not simply wallets and cellphones, but in addition a laptop computer, a marriage band, a pale blue Coach purse, a Covid vaccine card, an Ecuadorean passport — in its personal locker. There’s a safe out of doors yard the place the larger stuff, like kayaks and surfboards, is saved.

“It’s stunning that individuals don’t name to test,” Officer Rau mentioned.

A lightweight-blue Coach purse was among the many discovered property cataloged by East Hampton Town Police Officer Raymond Rau, who manages the division’s property room.

How lengthy discovered property is saved is determined by its kind and worth. Under $100, an merchandise is held for 3 months; as much as $499, that goes as much as six months. It’s one 12 months for objects starting from $500 to $4,999, three years in the event that they’re price greater than $5,000. After the prescribed size of time, the finder can declare it and turn into the keeper; if not, then the police can select to public sale it off or destroy it.

In December, for instance, a Sag Harbor lady received to maintain a pair of leaf blowers she’d discovered the 12 months earlier than. But firearms and munitions — perhaps somebody discovered his grandfather’s previous ammo whereas cleansing the basement, Officer Rau mentioned — are turned over to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for destruction.

Exclusions embody the driving force’s licenses, passports, bank cards, and cellphones. “I’d like to get these again to individuals,” Officer Rau mentioned. “I’ll take messages from anybody.” He’ll ship letters and make cellphone calls, however in lots of circumstances, it looks as if a misplaced trigger.

Found license plates are often destroyed. Their house owners “have in all probability simply gone again to the D.M.V.,” he mentioned.

Sifting by means of a field of iPhones, Officer Rau implored individuals to activate the “Find my iPhone” characteristic with which all Apple units come outfitted. “Please arrange the ‘Ping.’ That will assist,” he suggested.

Chief McGuire, who spent 16 years with the East Hampton Town police earlier than his appointment in Sag Harbor, recalled that somebody in East Hampton as soon as turned in intercourse toys. Another legendary native discover was a 15-foot-tall giraffe sculpture which, after popping up right here and there over a few years, was final seen on the village nature path within the spring of 2016. It was auctioned off in 2017.

“That was one of the crucial attention-grabbing discovered items of property ever,” mentioned Sgt. Steven Sheades of the village police. “At the time, I used to be a detective, and I went there and we tried to determine it out. We discovered the proprietor, however he didn’t need something to do with that and the publicity. It was an attention-grabbing time. That stayed in our impound yard for fairly a while, overlooking the chain-link fence like a greeter.”

There’s a distinction, Sergeant Sheades mentioned, between somebody misplacing one thing and somebody stealing it.

“When one thing is stolen, the particular person is fairly particular on how and why they imagine it was stolen. Some individuals do say, ‘My pockets was stolen as a result of I left it right here and now it’s not right here.’ Generally, these issues are misplaced or misplaced.”

Right now, within the East Hampton Village police property locker, a brown leather-based trifold pockets containing $320 in money has been ready for its proprietor since 2006.

Usually, Sergeant Sheades mentioned, the lost-and-found system works effectively.

“If we now have the property, and somebody calls, they find yourself getting it again in some unspecified time in the future. It’s positively helpful to the general public — it’s one thing that we will present for them.”

Officer Rau agreed. “There’s a cheerful feeling when individuals get their stuff again.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.