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Ashland's lost and found

A wallet somehow found itself out on Main Street in Ashland, in the street, still full of identity and credit cards on Thursday, just before the Christmas holiday. A person ran over it, felt the bump and ended up turning it in to the Ashland Police Department (APD).

“We were able to re-unite the wallet with all the credit cards” with its owner, according to APD Deputy Chief Warren Hensman. The person who lost the wallet didn’t even know it was missing when police called. “They were ecstatic,” he said. 

The wallet is far from the only item that's become separated from its owner. Ashland police recently put out a plea on its Facebook page to anyone missing items, asking that they call in and pick up their stuff. The person has to describe their missing item and, if they’re being honest, they can come get it back. “We keep it for 30 days and then we dispose of it. It can go to Goodwill if it’s in good enough shape, otherwise we dispose of it,” Hensman said.

State law requires police to hold on to items seized in arrest, or found, for at least a month. 

On the list of things at the Ashland Police Department have on hand that are unclaimed are backpacks and camping gear, bicycles, skateboard, wallets and purses, cell phones, cash, data processing gear and even passports. Some of the equipment arrives in the evidence locker from arrests and some items are simply found and turned in.

“You can call our property records and you will be questioned to ask and make sure it’s the rightful owner. Give the particulars and a lot of times we do get property back to folks,” said Hensman. 

The storage locker, according to Hensman, is about 24 feet long and 12 feet high with shelves full of items to be returned to their owners. “Occasionally back there it looks like good stuff.” 

As to whether the backpacks and camping gear primarily belong to homeless people who are arrested, Hensman couldn’t say for sure, but he did say it’s not often turned in as abandoned. “People aren’t finding camping gear downtown.” He says it’s difficult to return such gear to owners unless they come in and actively claim it. “When we’ve dealt with camping equipment without names on it it’s hard to return to owners.” 

Hensman said often the things which sit in the property room do belong to people after they are arrested. “I think the last time I had a conversation with the evidence custodian, most property was not retrieved after the person had been arrested. People’s property is put in safe keeping and they don’t claim it.” 

The police department put the notice out on their Facebook page to draw attention to the fact the items are, by law, kept for owners and will be there for at least a month. If an item has been taken or lost, they urge people to call the police. Things are often turned in with credit cards and cash intact, as well as other items taken to the police for safekeeping. “I have a ton of faith in our Ashland residents. Ashland is a team concept in and of itself,” Hensman said. 

The Ashland Police Department urges people who may have lost items or had them seized to call the evidence room, describe the items and come get them back. “We have some interesting things locked in a safe, but we hold on to it as long as we can. We have an outdoor storage that houses bikes, skateboards and backpacks,” said Hensman. “People turn things in with credit cards and money intact. That’s been our experience.” 

If you have lost and item or had it taken as a result of arrest APD urges you to call, describe it and come get it. “Storage is valuable to us.” said Hensman. The APD phone number is 541-488-2211

Email Ashland freelance writer Julie Akins at julieanneakins@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/@julieakins.