Chapter 2.80
DISPOSITION OF LOST OR UNCLAIMED PROPERTY AND MONIES

Sections:

2.80.010    Finder’s duties.

2.80.020    Circumstances extinguishing finder’s claim.

2.80.030    Release of property to finder – Limitations.

2.80.040    Failure to comply with chapter – Forfeiture of right to property.

2.80.050    Duties of police department acquiring lost property.

2.80.060    Notice to owner required.

2.80.070    Disposition of property authorized.

2.80.080    Notice of sale.

2.80.090    Claim to found property by city employees.

2.80.100    Exceptions.

2.80.010 Finder’s duties.

Any person who finds property that is not unlawful to possess within the city, the owner of which is unknown, and wishes to claim the found property shall:

A. Within seven days of the finding, acquire a signed statement setting forth an appraisal of the current market value of the property prepared by a qualified person engaged in buying or selling like items or by a district court judge;

B. Within seven days of finding the item, report the find of property to the Lynnwood police department and if requested by a police officer, surrender the property and a copy of the appraisal;

C. If the finder desires to claim the property, serve written notice upon the Lynnwood police officer of the finder’s intent to claim the property if the owner does not make claim as provided in this chapter;

D. Within 30 days of the finding, cause notice of the finding to be published at least once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property was found. (Ord. 1230 § 1, 1982)

2.80.020 Circumstances extinguishing finder’s claim.

The finder’s claim to the property shall be extinguished:

A. If the owner satisfactorily establishes, within 60 days after the find was reported to the appropriate officer, the owner’s right to possession of the property; or

B. If the chief law enforcement officer determines and so informs the finder that the property is illegal for the finder to possess. (Ord. 1230 § 2, 1982)

2.80.030 Release of property to finder – Limitations.

A. The found property shall be released to the finder and become the property of the finder 60 days after the find was reported to the appropriate officer if no owner has been found, or 60 days after the final disposition of any judicial or other official proceeding involving the property, whichever is later. The property shall be released only after the finder has presented evidence of:

1. Compliance with the publication requirement of this chapter; and

2. If the property is valued at more than $25.00, payment to the treasurer of the city, the amount of $5.00, or 10 percent of the appraised value of the property, whichever is greater, which amount shall be deposited in the general fund of the city.

B. When 60 days have passed after the found property was reported to the appropriate officer, or 60 days after the final disposition of a judicial or other proceeding involving the found property, and the finder has not completed the requirements of this chapter, the finder’s claim shall be deemed to have expired and the found property may be disposed of as unclaimed property. Such laws shall also apply whenever a finder states in writing that he or she has no intention of claiming the found property. (Ord. 1230 § 3, 1982)

2.80.040 Failure to comply with chapter – Forfeiture of right to property.

Any finder of property who fails to discharge the duties imposed by this chapter shall forfeit all right to the property and shall be liable for the full value of the property to its owner. (Ord. 1230 § 4, 1982)

2.80.050 Duties of police department acquiring lost property.

The chief of police or his or her designated representative to whom a finder surrenders property, shall:

A. Advise the finder if the found property is illegal for him or her to possess and, if so, confiscate the property;

B. Advise the finder if the found property is to be held as evidence in judicial or other official proceedings;

C. Advise the finder in writing of the procedures to be followed in claiming the found property;

D. If the property exceeds $25.00 in value and has been requested to be surrendered to the law enforcement agency, retain the property for 60 days before it can be claimed by the finder under this chapter, unless the owner shall have recovered the property;

E. If the property is held as evidence in judicial or other official proceedings, retain the property for 60 days after the final disposition of the judicial or other official proceeding before it can be claimed by the finder or owner under the provisions of this chapter;

F. After the required number of days have passed, and if no owner has been found, surrender the property to the finder according to the requirements of this chapter; or

G. If neither the finder nor the owner claim the property retained by the officer within 30 days of the time when the claim can be made, the property shall be disposed of as unclaimed property pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 1230 § 5, 1982)

2.80.060 Notice to owner required.

The chief of police or his or her designee shall, within 30 days after the property or monies come into possession of the department, cause written notice to be sent to the owner, if known. (Ord. 1230 § 6, 1982)

2.80.070 Disposition of property authorized.

Whenever any unclaimed personal property comes into the possession of the city in connection with the official performance of its duties, and the personal property remains unclaimed or not taken away for a period of 60 days from date of written notice to the owner thereof, if known, and in all other cases for a period of 60 days from the time the property came into the possession of the police department, unless the property has been held as evidence in any court, then, in that event, after 60 days from the date when the case has been finally disposed of and the property released as evidence by order of the court, the city may:

A. At any time thereafter sell the personal property at public auction to the highest and best bidder for cash in the manner provided in this section;

B. Retain the property for the use of the police department subject to giving notice in the manner prescribed in LMC 2.80.080, and the right of the owner, or the owner’s legal representative, to reclaim the property within one year after receipt of notice, without compensation for ordinary wear and tear if, in the opinion of the chief of police, the property consists of firearms or other items specifically usable in law enforcement work; provided, that at the end of each calendar year during which there has been such a retention, the police department shall provide the city’s mayor and retain for public inspection a list of such retained items and an estimation of each item’s replacement value; provided further, the item shall be given an official inventory number and used only in official police department business;

C. All guns, firearms or other weapons not designated for use in official police business shall be destroyed under the direction of the chief of police if the following circumstances have occurred:

1. The item has been in the possession of the police department for a period of at least one year from the time of first possession by the department;

2. The item has been unclaimed by any person after notice procedures have been met, as prescribed in LMC 2.80.080;

D. If the item is not unsafe or illegal to possess or sell, such item, after satisfying the notice requirements as prescribed in LMC 2.80.080, may be offered by the chief of police to bona fide dealers, in trade for law enforcement equipment, which equipment shall be treated as retained property for purpose of annual listing requirements of subsection (B) of this section. (Ord. 1230 § 7, 1982)

2.80.080 Notice of sale.

A. After the waiting periods specified in LMC 2.80.070, the chief of police or his or her designee may cause a notice of sale to be made containing the following:

1. The date, time and place of the sale;

2. A description of the property to be sold;

3. The notice shall be signed by the chief of police or his or her designee.

B. If the name and address of the owner is known from city records, the chief of police or his or her designee shall give the owner at least 10 days’ advance notice of such sale by giving him a copy of the notice of sale either personally, by leaving a written notice at his place of residence or place of doing business with some person of suitable age and discretion then resident or employed therein, or by certified mail, return receipt requested.

C. The notice of sale shall be published at least once in the official newspaper of the city at least 10 days prior to the date fixed for the sale.

D. If the owner fails to reclaim the property prior to the time fixed for sale in the notice, the chief of police or his or her designee shall conduct the sale and sell the property described in the notice at public auction to the highest and best bidder for cash and, upon payment of the amount of such bid, shall deliver the property to such bidder. (Ord. 1230 § 8, 1982).

2.80.090 Claim to found property by city employees.

City employees who find or acquire property covered by this chapter while acting within the course of their employment with the city may claim possession of the lost property as a finder under the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, employees of the Lynnwood police department and Lynnwood fire department, including reserves, may not claim possession of lost property as a finder if the property is found or acquired while acting within the course of employment with the city. (Ord. 1230 § 9, 1982)

2.80.100 Exceptions.

This chapter shall not apply to:

A. Motor vehicles under Chapter 46.52 RCW;

B. Unclaimed property in the hands of a bailee under Chapter 63.24 RCW; and

C. Uniform disposition of unclaimed property under Chapter 63.28 RCW. (Ord. 1230 § 10, 1982)