Dover Police website a success at returning lost items

Pictured is a set of car keys, one of 60 items posted on the Dover Police Department’s Pinterest Unclaimed Property Page on Wednesday. (Submitted photo/Dover Police Department)

Pictured is a set of car keys, one of 60 items posted on the Dover Police Department’s Pinterest Unclaimed Property Page on Wednesday. (Submitted photo/Dover Police Department)

DOVER — On Wednesday, another 63 missing items were posted on the Dover Police Department’s new Pinterest Property Page designed to reunite owners with lost property.

Since July 31, authorities said, approximately 10 items have been claimed and returned to rightful owners; the items were earlier found by police officers as lost property, turned in by the public, or recovered during criminal investigations.

After 32 items initially were posted late last month, authorities said it took 10 minutes for the first connection between owner and missing property to be made.

Since then, a variety of items have been returned, including, among others, purses, wallets and a chainsaw, Dover PD spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman said. There are more items in police possession to be photographed and publicized through regular updates available online at www.pinterest.com/doverpolicedepa/unclaimed-property/.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the public,” according to Cpl. Hoffman.

“Most of the people we have spoken with think it’s a brilliant idea.”

Cpl. Hoffman said it took him about an hour to upload this week’s new items, including time spent blocking out personal information on identification cards, etc.

“It is not a burden at all,” he said.

The idea was conceived after Cpl. Hoffman attended a Social Media in Law Enforcement Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, Dover PD had no way to notify the public of the unclaimed property it held.

Anyone with possible unclaimed property listed on the site can contact Dover PD Evidence Technician Dean Anderson at 736-7126 between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule a pickup appointment.

Police said the evidence technician makes the final decision if the person claiming the property is the rightful owner or legal representative for the missing. In order to provide proof of ownership, the evidence technician may request proof of ID or ownership to include (but not limited to):

• Government issued identification (driver’s license/social security number card/birth certificate/etc.)

• Utility bill or other proof of residency

• Receipt or box of item being claimed with matching serial number

• Ability to log into electronic devices with correct username/password witnessed by evidence technician

• Any other form of ID or proof of ownership the evidence technician deems necessary.

The page is updated “when time allows and as needed,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

“We will continually add items as they come in and time allows our evidence tech to take the photographs of the items. We can’t say it will be updated every week or every Friday because we may not have anything turned in.

“We may have large cases where several evidence items have to be processed and do not allow our tech the time to document the items on a consistent basis.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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