I found a man's gold ring wedding band outside a chain grocery store in north Medford the other day. I went inside the store, found a manager and gave him the ring.
I asked for some kind of written receipt, but he refused, telling me it was going into lost and found. I immediately wondered if the ring had any chance of getting back to its owner, or was simply pocketed by the manager. Should I have taken it to the police instead?
— Wallace R., Central Point
Perhaps your second instinct was better than the first.
For a number of reasons — all good — taking the ring to the local police would have set in motion a greater opportunity for the ring to find its way back to its owner, said Detective Sgt. Josh Reimer of the Medford police.
"It's not that it's not a good-faith effort on the part of the finder," Reimer said. "We're trying to ensure accountability. I can hand the ring to someone and not know what they will do with it. If someone asked for written documentation, they should have gotten it."
When police are given found property, they provide a written receipt. The ring would go to the property evidence facility while police tried to match it with potential theft or missing property reports.
"Maybe they can tie it together and get it back to the person," Reimer said.
If the property goes unclaimed, there are procedures in the Oregon Revised Statutes for the finder to get property that goes unclaimed.
After 30 days, property worth less than $100 can be claimed by the finder.
It's more complicated for property of greater value. But rather than recite the Byzantine route of return, Reimer suggested people turning in such property call the phone number on the receipt to begin the process for unclaimed property.
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