Storing, handling found property can be challenging for police

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GREENFIELD — The pink striped purse has been sitting in the basement of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department since August.

Tucked inside is $310, a day planner, a Verizon Smartphone and a Coach wallet – all things you’d think a person would be interested in calling police to claim.

Except for one – a silver marijuana pipe.

The purse was found in the middle of a road in Morristown by a good Samaritan who decided to turn it over to law enforcement in hopes officers could locate the bag’s owner.

But when police went looking for the girl, they found she no longer lived at the house in Carthage listed on her ID, and the post office had no forwarding address.

And so, the purse remains at the sheriff’s department, waiting for an owner who might never show up.

“Who else do you turn it over to but the police?” Sheriff Mike Shepherd said. “But if we don’t find anyone who wants to claim it, we’re stuck with it.”

Most law enforcement agencies operate a lost-and-found program, a responsibility left over from the days when police work was as much about lending a neighbor a hand as catching a hardened criminal.

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