West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue presented an unclaimed property check to Berkeley County Sheriff Kenny Lemaster Wednesday morning, which will be used to help support the Department’s Canine Unit.
The check, in the amount of $2,935.41, is for the proceeds the Department is due after turning over unclaimed stolen/abandoned items to the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division.
“Unclaimed property isn’t just your grandmother’s forgotten bank account,” said Treasurer Perdue. “Law enforcement agencies around the state have the responsibility to turn over unclaimed stolen or abandoned property to the state, as well. It can be a daunting task to purge these evidence rooms and turn over appropriate items to the state, but, as we see today, there is a great opportunity for these departments to be rewarded for their hard work.”
Law enforcement agencies are required by state law to turn over certain evidence room items to the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division after the items have been held for a certain amount of time and retired as evidence. The Treasurer’s Office then auctions such items through an online or live bidding process.
“We are thrilled to receive this money and the timing is just right,” said Sheriff Lemaster. “We are in the process of getting two new Canine Unit dogs. We plan to use the money for specialized equipment and any additional expenses associated with our new canines.”
Under the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, law enforcement agencies may apply for net proceeds generated by the sale of unclaimed items. The Berkeley Sheriff’s Department is among a handful of agencies to benefit from this law.
Unclaimed stolen/abandoned property is any tangible personal property, including cash and coins, which is confiscated by or otherwise comes into the custody of law enforcement agencies.
Unclaimed Property online auctions are held periodically. To view current auction items, go to www.westvirginiaunclaimedproperty.org. Active bidders must first establish an account with a user name and password.
Under state law, unclaimed firearms reported to the Unclaimed Property Division may be sold at public auction, as well, but the sales are restricted to registered Federal Firearm Licensed (FFL) dealers and special requirements for purchase apply.
For more information on West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property program, visit www.wvtreasury.com.