New Options for Unclaimed Property

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JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — After a crime like a burglary, the goal of the sheriff’s office is to return the stolen items back to the original owner. When the owner can’t be found the items go up for auction. In a move made by county commissioners this week, items can now be donated or auctioned online.

Josephine County Property Control Specialist Kari Lee said if you can name it, she probably has it stored at the county’s evidence facility.

“We have interesting items, like this, a World War I water cooled 50 caliber machine gun,” said Lee.

60,000 items ranging from chainsaws to computers, are stored in the 6,700 square foot facility.

“Anytime we serve a search warrant, or arrest someone, or someone turns in found property, all of that comes here,” said Lee.

The oldest item still stored as evidence is from 1957 and the amount of time something is kept varies.

“All of the suspects need to go through due process, and then I have to wait a period of time for appeals before I can get rid of anything,” said Lee.

Only then are items either auctioned off or destroyed. Now, there are two new options. The items cleared can now either be auctioned off online or donated to charity.

“This was a backpack that was recently turned in as found property, there’s no identification on it, there’s  no reason some kid couldn’t get perfectly good use  out of this now, rather than me just throwing this  away,” said Lee.

Auctions use to be held in person every couple of years. Lee said these were both costly and time consuming to set up. But that has changed, making things much more efficient for her and the facility.

“That will give me the ability to make auctions bite sized pieces rather than waiting for me to have hundreds of items, I can do it when I have a basket of items, for example,” said Lee.

All money generated from the auctions goes back into the county’s general fund. As for that WWI machine gun, it is one of many things set to be destroyed from orders of the A.I.F.


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    We had items stolen from two properties in 2007 and 2008. We know who stole the property but items were never found. The people who stole from us went on to beat an elderly man and served time. One person was Daniel Z. harper and Robert Bean. How can we see if the items are in your warehouse. we reported one robbery case # 20089-10869.
    Thank you,
    Lillian Easter

  2. Joyce Hess says:

    How do we find out when the on line auctions are?

    1. Sherry says:

      How are these auctions going to be made aware to us as the interested public?

    2. IB aSchmuck says:

      Simple enough.
      Once they establish, and publish the name of, an online seller account you can go to their “page” or “store” or however the particular auction site is set up and follow any/all items they offer for sale.
      The trick is for them to advise the “interested public” of the seller account name. The rest will be up to you, me and the rest of the “interested public”.
      Then, there would be no reason for them to publish each and every item offered for sale.

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