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(1) Authority. This section is created pursuant to section 66.28 of the Wisconsin Statutes or as may be amended.

(2) Definitions. As used in the ordinance, the following terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended.

(a) Abandoned Property: Property which it appears the owner has intentionally relinquished all right, title, claim, and possession with the intention of not reclaiming it or resuming ownership, possession or enjoyment.

(b) Unclaimed Property: Property which it may appear that someone has rights but which rights have gone unasserted after a reasonable effort by the County to discover and notify the possessor of such rights.

(c) County: The County of Kenosha.

(3) Exclusions. The provisions of the ordinance do not apply to abandoned vehicles, to any deposit or trust fund placed in the custody of the County or any County officer for which procedures established by statute or ordinance shall be followed.

(4) Disposal of Abandoned, Unclaimed or Seized Property.

(a) Personal Property.

1. If the property is of no value, it shall be disposed of in the manner provided for the disposal of trash and garbage.

2. If the property has a value of less than $200.00, it may be disposed of by selling same for the best price obtainable at a public sale as conducted under 3 of this section, where the property has remained with the County for more than thirty days.

3. If the property which has been abandoned or unclaimed for a period of thirty days has a value of $200.00 or more, the property shall be disposed of at public sale to be held at such a place as the Sheriff may designate. Notice of such public sale shall be given by publishing same at least once in the Kenosha News at least 30 days prior to said sale and posting notice of said sale on the official County bulletin boards. Such notice shall state the time, date and place of sale along with the description of the property and a statement that if the property is not claimed, the property will be sold at public sale to the highest cash bidder and if no bids are received, the property will be disposed of as garbage or trash.

(b) Money:

1. If any person shall find money, if the owner is unknown, such person shall deliver it to the Sheriff’s Department and receive a receipt. The money, upon receipt, shall be transferred to the County Treasurer for safekeeping and a receipt provided to the Sheriff’s Department. The County shall keep the money for a period of six months. Then it shall be disposed of under this section.

2. Money shall not be disposed of unless a certificate is presented to the County Treasurer by the lawful owner or the finder of the money provided that certificate states six months has lapsed since the money was deposited with the Sheriff’s Department.

3. If the money remains unclaimed for a period of one year from the date of delivery to the Sheriff’s Department, said money shall be deposited in the County’s General Fund and be credited to general miscellaneous revenue.

(c) Flammables, Explosives and Incendiary Materials:

1. The Sheriff’s Department may dispose of abandoned, unclaimed, seized flammable, explosive or incendiary substances, materials or devices in it’s custody posing a danger to life or property in its storage, transportation or use immediately after taking possession of such substances, materials, devices.

2. The disposal of flammables, explosives and incendiary materials shall not be by public sale but by contracting with private disposal units or with other governmental units for safe disposal per the County’s contracting procedures.

(d) Firearms and Ammunition:

1. If firearms or ammunition seized by the Sheriff’s Department are not required for evidence or further investigation but pose a danger to life or property in their storage, transportation or use, or constitute contraband, such items may be shipped to the State Crime Laboratory.

2. If firearms or ammunition seized by the Sheriff’s Department are not required for evidence or further investigation or do not appear to be or are reported stolen and have not been disposed of pursuant to court order at the completion of a criminal action or proceeding, and the rightful owner has not requested their return within twelve months after taking possession of such firearms or ammunition, then such items may be shipped by the Sheriff’s Department to the State Crime Laboratory.

(5) Return to Owner:

(a) The Sheriff’s Department shall attempt to ascertain the true owner of personal property or money.

(b) A receipt shall be issued to the finder listing what the item was and if money, the amount which was surrendered.

(c) The return of money or other property shall be as follows:

1. Money - a receipt shall be provided under (4)(b) hereof for the purposes of claiming the money.

2. Personal property may be returned by the Sheriff’s Department to the rightful owner.

(d) If the rightful owner cannot be ascertained, then the money or personal property may be returned to the finder by certificate. [Code § 3.66, 2018.]