Unclaimed items at Richland PD have a new, helpful purpose - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Unclaimed items at Richland PD have a new, helpful purpose

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RICHLAND, WA - Whether it's unclaimed stolen property or evidence from a crime, thousands of items are left at local police departments every year. If you've ever wondered what happens to all of that stuff, Reporter Jaclyn Selesky found out the answer today.

"It's police work," said Captain Mike Cobb with the Richland Police Department. "Matching up the victim to the suspect, matching up the victim to the item, that's what we do as police officers."

Captain Cobb isn't talking about your typical crime scene. Every year, the Richland Police Department has to file hundreds, sometimes even thousands of unclaimed items, stolen property and things taken in as evidence.

Bikes, tools and car stereos are just a few of the random items being turned into the Richland Police Department, but now that they're sitting in their storage area...where do they go next?

Once an item is unclaimed for a certain amount of time, the police department goes through the process of getting rid of it. They contract with propertyroom.com, a commercial firm who sells the items online, so they get a percentage, the state gets a percentage, and the remainder goes to the department.

"We've used it on rifles, we've used it on tasers, we've used it for a number of equipment items that are much more difficult to fund," Capt. Cobb said.

It turns out, this eclectic gathering helps our local law enforcement without tapping into taxpayer's wallets.

"It all goes to making our community safer and making our officers much more effective on the street and better able to serve our citizens."