Chapter 10.40


10.40.010    Impoundment authority.

10.40.020    Disposition of impounded personal property.

10.40.010 Impoundment authority.

The police department, or its authorized representative, is authorized to receive and impound personal property abandoned or lost within the borough. This section and the other sections of this chapter are applicable only to that personal property not otherwise regulated by the Wrangell Municipal Code, specifically abandoned vehicles and boats regulated by Chapter 11.72 WMC and WMC 14.13, respectively. Personal property impounded shall be stored in an appropriate place designated by the chief of police. A permanent record shall be made of each item or group of items impounded, and the date and location of such impoundment, together with a description of the item. [Ord. 493 § 4, 1986.]

10.40.020 Disposition of impounded personal property.

The police department is not required to search for the true owner of abandoned or lost personal property.

A. The owner of the impounded personal property may claim the same by identifying or presenting other proof of ownership to the chief of police, and upon payment of the cost of impounding and storage as set forth herein. If a person claims ownership of an item in custody of the police department and cannot conclusively establish ownership, the chief of police may use his discretion in deciding if ownership is sufficiently established. Such a decision shall be in writing. Any party wishing to dispute the decision shall have the right to appeal to the assembly within 10 days of the decision.

No cost shall be assessed or collected when impounding is accomplished by the police department with equipment and facilities normally available to the department. When it is necessary to utilize equipment from other departments of the borough or rent privately owned equipment to accomplish the impoundment, the actual cost shall be collected. When borough storage facilities are available and used, no cost for storage shall be assessed and collected. If rent of storage space is necessary to store and/or protect the property, actual cost of storage shall be collected.

B. If impounded personal property is not claimed within six months of the date of impoundment, it may be:

1. Retained for use by the borough;

2. Donated to nonprofit businesses or institutions;

3. Destroyed, if its condition or saleability does not warrant other disposition; or

4. Offered for public sale;

unless the persons who deposited it with the police department indicates at the time of deposit that they would wish the item.

If an unredeemed item is to be returned to the finder, the finder must execute an instrument agreeing to surrender the item or its apparent value to the true owner should the true owner make application for the item within two years of original deposit with the police department. All knives, firearms, and items with an apparent value of $200.00 or more shall be approved by the borough manager or assembly prior to being released to a finder.

If an unredeemed item is offered for public sale, the chief of police shall cause to be published, in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality, a description of the item, the minimum bid, and the fact that the item and other items similarly described will be sold at a specified time to the highest bidder at a public sale under direction of the chief of police, said public auction to occur not less than 10 days after publication of the notice of the sale. The minimum bid shall be the cost of all actual costs of impoundment and storage fees, plus $5.00. The proceeds from the sale of the unredeemed items shall be deposited by the director of finance in the general fund of the borough. Each purchaser shall be issued a receipt upon which shall be shown the date, amount, and description of the item.

C. An exception to this rule is bicycles. Any bicycle impounded by the police may be offered for public sale after being held for not less than 90 days, or may be donated to a charity or charitable organization for distribution to needy children. Bicycles may not be given to the finder. [Ord. 493 § 4, 1986.]