• Purpose
  • General


    The University is host to a large number of people on its campuses. Inevitably, many lost personal belongings are discovered in University facilities and on University property and are submitted to the University in anticipation that the owners will claim the items. There are certain issues that employees must be cognizant of and certain obligations that must be fulfilled with respect to lost and found items. For purposes of this policy and all related procedures, employee includes student employees and volunteers who are working on behalf of the University.

    This policy is intended to provide a standardized, efficient and controlled process for the handling, storage and final disposition of lost and found items throughout the University.


    This policy and related procedures apply to all areas of the University regardless of physical location.

    The PA Crimes Code has a section that pertains to this policy - 18 Pa.C.S. § 3924 - Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake:

    " A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, with intent to deprive the owner thereof, he fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to a person entitled to have it."

    Employees of the University must turn in all personal items found, either to a supervisor or directly to a lost and found repository. Employees have no claim on items found while performing their duties. This includes items in refuse or recycling containers on University property; items cannot be taken from University receptacles for personal use.

    Items will be considered to be lost or abandoned when found in an area where items are not normally left for a long period of time, or after the building is closed to the general public. Facilities with 24-hour operations will determine a local policy for determining when items will be considered abandoned for purposes of this policy. If an item is found which may be stolen or contraband, University Police or Security offices should be contacted immediately.

    Repositories will be designated throughout the University for the handling of lost and found items. Persons finding an item believed to be lost shall take the item to one of these repositories. Each administrative unit at University Park will have an office(s) or public desk(s) designated as the repository(ies) for that area. The Commons Desk will be the repository for all residence halls. At all other campus locations, the Director of Business Services will designate repositories as appropriate based on the size of the campus.

    It shall be the responsibility of each repository to safeguard lost items, participate in efforts to return items to the owners, and to arrange for disposition of items unclaimed after specified periods of time according to University policy and the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The University will make a reasonable effort to return items to the rightful owner, but assumes no liability if an item is returned to the wrong individual or if an item placed in a repository is mislabeled, misplaced, or damaged.

    Procedure AD2001 shall provide specific details regarding the handling of lost and found items and operation of lost and found repositories.

    Effective Date: November 1, 2002
    Date Approved: September 9, 2002
    Date Published: September 24, 2002

    Most recent changes:

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