Cat's Clicks: Recover Lost or Stolen
Cat Schwartz contributed to this article.
August 23, 2002
By Christi Morales and Rachel Newman
Today Cat shows you how to recover lost or
stolen property online. It doesn't even have to be yours.
Christi Morales and Rachel Newman
Police property rooms and airline
unclaimed luggage warehouses are packed full of everything from Rolex watches and jewelry to
bicycles and cameras. The police and airlines make every attempt to reunite items with their
proper owners, however, when items are not claimed or the rightful owners cannot be
identified, the items are put up for auction. Today Cat shows you how get help finding your
lost or stolen property. You can also get some great deals on unclaimed items just sitting
Before you become a victim of crime, inventory your
personal belongings. Remember to jot down the serial numbers, model numbers, and
manufacturer as well as any distinguishing characteristics. Keep your inventory in a safe
place outside your home. Read Roger's home inventory tips
Search for everything -- including man's best
The Internet Lost and Found is a free (and large) online
classified forum. It has several sections, including electronics, clothing, baggage,
tickets, and jewelry. Each section lets you report a lost item, report a found item, search
for lost items, or search for found items. The most active part of the site is the pets
section. Many shelters enter lost and found pets into the database. If you're looking for
Fido, this is the place to go.
StealItBack.com will help you recover stolen items. Here's
what you need to do if an item is stolen.
- File a
- Go to StealItBack.com or Property Room to register the
your item is returned to a participating police department, you'll get it back for
Buy stuff back, even if it's not
- Set up an account with your name, address, phone number,
email address, username, and password.
- Describe your item. You'll need
to know the brand, model number, and serial number. Be sure to include the name of your
local police department, city, and police report number.
Anyone can bid on items that aren't claimed at the
StealItBack.com auction site. Property Bureau, an organization run by former police
officers, manages the site. Buyers don't need to wait for real-world police auctions. Bid
any time of the day or night on items in property rooms across the United
Sign up for an auction account (it's kinda like signing up
for eBay). This is a different account than the one you created to register your stolen
Search for the item you want to buy. Goods are separated by
Place a bid. A proxy bid will allow you to set a maximum
price and bid in increments until you reach your limit. An absolute bid sets your bid at the
Confirm your bid.
cannot be shipped overseas. You'll be notified if there's a problem with your
Proceeds from each auction are put in a scholarship fund for the
children of police officers killed in the line of duty.
Most of the unclaimed luggage from US airports ends up at
the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. Although walking through this house of
unclaimed wares is a lot of fun, you don't need to take a trip to Scottsboro to browse
through the goodies. Just go online to find used clothing, electronics, jewelry, and even
Some lucky customers find more in their
purchases than they bargain for. One little girl bought a Barbie doll. When she popped the
doll's head off, she found $500 dollars in cash stashed inside. Another customer discovered
an unnamed amount of cash in a hollowed out soap on a rope.
also carries items from unclaimed cargo. Bargain-hungry shoppers who are wary of purchasing
previously worn pajamas can cash in on new products from popular brands like Gap, Nike, and
Not all items found in baggage are particularly sellable,
however. Staff has found strange and amazing things in unclaimed luggage, including a live
rattlesnake and a guidance component for a F16 fighter jet, worth a quarter of a million
dollars. But even if you don't end up with a new pet snake, Unclaimed Baggage is still
worth the virtual trip.