Friday, October 30, 2015

A Day in the Life at the Lost and Found: Phones, Umbrellas, and a Bag O’Pot

Many people run to catch their bus, but some also dash off the bus to get where they need to go. In that bustle, they sometimes leave stuff behind. At Community Transit, we average about 650 lost and found items per month. That’s up to 8,000 items a year.

Most items left behind on our buses are what you’d expect to find: cell phones, travel umbrellas, prescription glasses, IDs. But, we also get stuff you’ve got to wonder how someone could forget: bicycles, laptops, dentures, even a playpen! 

When you operate public transit in a state where marijuana is legalized, it’s not surprising when a bag of pot appears in the daily drop off. 

In fact, our staff estimates that small amounts of marijuana make an appearance at the Lost and Found about four times per month.

So, what do we do with the pot?

According to Matt, Sales and Distribution Supervisor at the Lynnwood Transit Center RideStore, home to our Lost and Found, standard procedure is to call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputies to come and retrieve it. We don’t want to be in possession of lost drugs or weapons.

“In most instances, what we receive is a small amount,” said Matt. “If it happens that the person who left their item on the bus shows up to claim it before the sheriffs arrive, we release the item to the person (after they properly identify it).”

If the sheriff arrives before the owner and takes possession of the marijuana, a tag marked with the case number and sheriff’s office contact info is attached to the container the marijuana was in so the owner can take steps to retrieve the item. When a claimant is told they need to go to the sheriff’s office to get their weed, “we usually get a very calm response,” said Matt.

Reunited And It Feel So Good

For just about every lost item is an owner eager for its return. About 35 percent of items in the Lost and Found are reunited with their owners. If you’ve left an item on one of our buses, here’s what you should know to get your item back:
  • If you left your item on a Community Transit or Snohomish County Sound Transit bus, contact the RideStore to see if your item has been found. Call (425) 348-2350 or email
  • Lost and found items can be picked up at the RideStore the next business day after 12:00 p.m.
  • When you call, be prepared to identify your item (color, stickers, brand name, etc.).
  • If you lost an item at Everett Station, check with the station’s Customer Service Center.
  • If you lost an item on the Sounder Train, call (888) 889-6398. Select the “Sounder” option and then select “Lost & Found.”

Clockwise left: 30 crates organize found items; bulkier found items take up
the other side of lost and found; a gas-powered pruner was left behind; 
staff examine and log items in all bags that come in; an average dropoff
of found items from a weekend.
Time’s a Tickin’ When Things Go Missin’

If an item has a phone number, we do our best to contact the owner. Otherwise, we wait for a call. Wallets, purses and medications are always given special consideration for quick return to the owner. Other items fall under these hold criteria:
  • Lost items are held in Lost in Found for 14 days, then they are destroyed or donated.
  • Bikes are held offsite for a total of 10 days before being turned over to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Property Room. When claiming a bike, you’ll need to set-up a time for pick-up. Appointments are available weekdays between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. by calling (425) 348-2350.
“At the end of the day, we prefer to reunite people with their property,” said Matt.

To that end, our RideStore staff has two pieces of advice for our riders:
  1. Check your seat before getting off the bus and make sure you have all your belongings.
  2. If you think you’ve lost something on one of our buses, give us a call!

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