Police discourage old adage of finders keepers


“Dillon McCameron, we have your wallet at the police department,” is what McCameron heard on the other end of the line. McCameron, a student at Texas State Technical College’s Game and Simulation Programming department was not aware he had lost his wallet prior to the phone call.

“I didn’t even know when or where I had lost my wallet,” said McCameron. “But because someone turned it in at lost and found I got my driver’s license, money and credit cards back. It was all accounted for and I couldn’t have been more grateful.”

Thousands of dollars in lost electronics, books, purses and wallets ends up at the TSTC “Lost and Found” located at the TSTC Police Departments in Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco.

This year alone there have been 79 found property reports according to Sergeant Gloria Ruiz from the TSTC Police Department in Harlingen.

“Returning lost and found property to its rightful owner is just as important as returning a stolen item,” said Ruiz.

“We want to have the item or items in our possession as soon as possible in case the owner comes to us looking for it.” To assist in making the “Lost and Found” successful, the three TSTC Police Departments are asking for help from the college community and the thousands of visitors who come to one of the ten campuses each year.

“When something is found please call us immediately,” said Chief of Police Brock Carter from the Sweetwater campus. “If you can’t bring the item to us, we can go to you. We want to make this process as easy as possible. We want to encourage everyone to be on board.”

Police also encourage immediate reports of all lost or stolen items. Each police department is following the Campus Operation Procedure policy number GA 1.45, which states, “All abandoned or found personal property is to be turned in to the TSTC Police Department.”

“We just do what our procedures tell us to do.

It’s the law,” said Chief of Police Aurelio Torres from the Harlingen campus.

“Everyone needs to realize that if an item is lost, but reported stolen, the person who finds it is now holding onto a stolen item, even if he or she did not steal it.”

The good news, according to Ruiz, is that they have seen an increase in found property reports at TSTC in Harlingen since 2013. In 2013 there were 338 reports, 438 reports in 2014, and 479 reports in 2015. Ruiz said seeing an increase in reports.

In accordance to Texas law, all of the items turned into the “Lost and Found” are kept at the police department for 60 days.

Any item in “Lost and Found” after two months will be distributed to TSTC’s Central Receiving surplus inventory and can be sold by auction, competitive bid or direct sale to the public. However, items with personal information such as driver’s licenses, insurance cards and USBs are destroyed.

All clothing, eyewear and lost keys are also destroyed.

To assist with lost and found efforts, students, staff and faculty are encouraged to participate in “Operation ID,” a national program for property identification and inventory that protects possessions in case they are misplaced.

An engraver and permanent markers are available at all TSTC Police Departments for anyone interested in marking their possessions. “Marking your items makes for easy identification of property and recovery,” said Chief of Police Brian David from the Waco campus.

For more information on “Lost and Found” or to turn in a lost item, contact your local TSTC Police Department: Harlingen 956-364-4220; Sweetwater 325-235-7400 and Waco 254-867-3690.