Stored personal property at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is becoming a big strain on law enforcement.
The property room storing items of jail inmates belongings is running out of space to store pertinent items, like evidence.
The property room currently houses about 56,000 pieces of property and evidence held by the sheriff’s office. If the personal property isn’t picked up, getting rid of it could cost taxpayers.
Backpacks, purses, duffle bags, you name it, TCSO is full of them.
“We hold criminal evidence, found property, property that's booked into us for owners to come pick up after they are released,” Misty Cupps, an evidence tech with TCSO said.
The property room inside the sheriff’s office is facing a massive backlog of items confiscated when a person is taken to jail.
“It's a big issue right now,” Cupps said.
Personal items left by inmates are taking up valuable space needed to store things much more important, such as rape kits and homicide evidence.
Some items date back to the 1990s, waiting to be picked up.
The tough part?
“All we really have to go by is the phone numbers we have listed, that we have available to us, and addresses,” Cupps said. “A lot of the times those aren't correct."
Unfortunately, getting rid of the items isn't easy. If they aren't picked up, TCSO has to go through the court system to get orders to dispose of the items.
“In that process we have to list each person, what the item is, their name, their address, phone number, and recognize all of them on the list,” Cupps said.
A court date is then set to approve the disposal, but that court date means taxpayer dollars, and so far, thousand of items have not been claimed.
TCSO said they have a solution, they're turning to Facebook and compiling a list of email addresses.
“I find it easier nowadays to locate someone on facebook and contact them that way,” Cupps said.
If you receive a message on Facebook from the sheriff's office, it's not a scam. You may actually have items sitting in the property room.
For those curious to know if they have items at TCSO, call the office and ask to speak to the evidence tech.
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