Sports card collection “unique” at Rifle Police Department lost and found |

Sports card collection “unique” at Rifle Police Department lost and found

Rifle Police Lt. J.R. Boulton arranges sports cards among several hundred turned in to the department’s lost and found two years ago, along with an old Yahtzee board game. Boulton is advertising to try to find the cards’ owner.
Mike McKibbin/Citizen Telegram |

As sports card collections go, this one doesn’t have any valuable vintage Ty Cobbs or Joe DiMaggios, but there may be a good John Elway or perhaps a Todd Helton rookie card.

The several hundred card collection’s owner may not know it’s missing – or maybe not even care – since it’s sat in a dark room at the Rifle Police Department since early in 2012. The department’s lost and found usually receives items like auto keys, wallets, cell phones, bicycles and back packs, according to the custodian, Lt. J.R. Boulton.

“People are basically honest, so they bring things to us and we try to track down the owners,” he said.

In a year, Boulton estimated between 50 to 100 abandoned, lost and unclaimed items are turned in, most with negligible value. But only about 10 percent of the items are returned to their owners.

Many of the items the department handles belong to those arrested and taken to the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs, which does not accept any personal items, Boulton noted. Others are recovered from burglaries.

“For prisoners, we can usually find them if they’re sentenced to prison,” Boulton said. “Or we find their families and they usually take their items.”

The city code requires Boulton to use public records and other sources to try to locate the owners of the items. If he comes up with a likely owner, that person is sent a letter to their last known address, stating that they have 60 days to claim the items or waive any claim of ownership.

“We do pretty good finding the owners of stolen guns, since those owners had background checks and there’s a record of a sale,” Boulton said.

Ads are taken out once the value of the items on hand is more than $100, with all unclaimed property becoming city property after 30 days. The department can either sell or auction the unclaimed items, donate them to a charity or nonprofit organization, keep usable items for training purposes or throw unusable and unwanted items out.

So every month, Boulton places a newspaper ad in The Citizen Telegram, letting readers know the department may have a lost item. This month’s ad features the sports card collection.

Most of the cards feature players in baseball, football, hockey and other sports from the 1990s and early 2000s, Boulton said, but he hasn’t bothered to determine their value as collectible items. The cards, along with some collectible coins, were turned in by a couple of youngsters in North Rifle, Boulton added, along with an old Yahtzee board game.

“I’d say it’s one of the most unique lost and found items we’ve had,” Boulton said. “And maybe one of the more valuable things.”

To claim the cards or any other lost or unclaimed item, contact Boulton at 665-6500.

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