Lots of lost stuff ends up in auctions
VAIL – Mark Gordon hadn’t been on the job for a week when the call came.”Has anyone turned in a set of false teeth?” the caller asked.Gordon immediately thought he was getting his rookie hazing, so he responded in kind:”We’ve got hundreds, can you identify them?”That call marked Gordon’s most embarrassing moment in his years running Vail Mountain’s lost and found department. The call was real, of course. And there were no false teeth anywhere to be found.A lot of items get dropped, left behind or otherwise lost on local ski hills and buses. A lot of that stuff finds its way back to the people who lose it. But a lot ends up in a room in the Vail Police Department’s offices. Most of the lost backpacks, skis and gloves that land at the police department end up as items at the department’s annual unclaimed property auction. Once there, the lost items become bargains for locals, and put money into the Vail Police Volunteer Program.
But before the lost things end up on the auction block, people have a chance to get them back.”There are a lot of honest people on the mountain,” Gordon said. “We do get jewelry, Rolexes and cameras. But we get a lot of it back to the people who lost it.”Things like gloves, hats and sunglasses get moved fairly quickly to the police storage room, Gordon said. The expensive items are held a bit longer.Things left on town buses go to the room at the police station a little quicker.”We keep it for a day or two and then send it along,” said Mike Rose, who runs the town’s bus system.”We get just about everything,” he added. “We get wallets, cell phones, bags of clothes from shops. Some things people leave in their packs, they wouldn’t want their mothers to see. We get some, uh, interesting personal effects. We just zip ’em back up.”Sometimes, those “personal effects” draw a little more attention.People have been known to leave illegal drugs in backpacks. When drugs or other illegal items are found, the items are turned over to police.”People have asked for those things back,” said Ashley Bell of the Vail police’s records department. The people who take care of the department’s records also handle the lost and found room.
While stuff of all kinds can get left in buses, maybe the strangest report of lost stuff belongs to Harry Taylor, director of the county’s ECO Transit system.”A lady called and asked us to look for a leash and a bag that had a stool sample from her pet,” Taylor said. “We looked, but we didn’t find anything.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado