Systems and Procedures
A Division of The Corporate Controller's Office

Procedure AD2001 - Lost and Found Items


Policy Steward facilitating procedure: Vice President for Administration

Table of Contents:


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. As stated in Policy AD13 Lost and Found, there are certain issues that employees must be cognizant of, and certain obligations that must be fulfilled, with respect to lost and found items.

NOTE: For purposes of this procedure, "employee" also includes, but is not limited to, student employees, graduate assistants, volunteers and third-party employees such as contractors and consultants.

This procedure will outline the steps to be taken to better assure that found items can be returned to the owner, and that the proper disposition is made of unclaimed items.

This procedure and related policies apply to University-owned or leased property.



Submitting Lost Items:

Anyone finding a lost item should turn it in to the closest available University office as soon as possible. Employees who find lost items must turn the items into their supervisor or the person with authority over the facility (as designated by the venue). If there is any doubt about how a lost item should be handled, contact the University Police or campus security office, as applicable. For additional guidance, refer to the chart below in the "Handling of Lost Items" section.

If the office that receives the lost item is not a repository, and the owner of the item cannot be identified and contacted immediately, the office should forward the item to the closest repository for that location along with details on where and when the item was found, and the name and contact information for the person who found it. The same is true for supervisors and others who receive lost items from employees.


Each college, campus and administrative area must designate an office for the handling of lost and found items which will be considered a lost and found repository. See the "Repository Listing" for a list of University repository locations. Repositories will be responsible for logging, tracking and inventorying lost and found items with an estimated value over $100 in the Lost and Found Tracking System. Items less than $100 do not need to be logged in the Lost and Found Tracking System, but must still be handled in accordance with this procedure.

Exceptions to use another system must be approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance & Business.

To establish a repository in the Lost and Found Tracking System, a requestor will send an email to, with "Lost and Found" in the subject line, and specify the appropriate contact information in the body of the email message. Using the contact information provided, an account will be set up, authorizing the requestor as the Repository Manager. This information will be reflected in the "Repository Management" section on the System, for reference by users as needed to report/inquire on lost and found items. In most cases, this will be an office or public desk within each building, or convenient to a group of buildings. Once authorized, the Repository Manager can establish/authorize individuals in the Lost and Found Tracking System to serve as "repository users" for their area.


  1. Because of sanitation-related issues, items such as the following are not considered lost items and will be disposed of immediately:
    • Food or food items, including alcoholic beverages
    • Personal hygiene or cosmetic items
    • Soiled or otherwise unusable clothing or personal items

  2. Certain items are too common to be handled as lost property, and can be disposed of by the University:

    • Pens, pencils and other supplies that have a value under $10 (unless found bundled such as in a backpack or supply box)
    • Items with no or little value (under $25), excluding jewelry or monies (cash, coin)

  3. Certain items found in University housing facilities after a student has moved from the premises will also not be treated as lost or abandoned for purposes of this procedure, and can be used by the University or disposed of, such as:

    • Bricks, cinder blocks, lumber and other building materials
    • Carpet or other floor coverings
    • Clothing items

  4. Students and others can donate unwanted items to the United Way through the "Trash To Treasure" program by placing the items in designated locations either in University housing facilities during "move-out," or after University events (such as the IFC Dance Marathon). Items so designated will not be considered lost or misplaced for purposes of this procedure and will be collected by the University as an agent for the United Way.


When a designated repository receives a lost item, a designated individual (repository user) will enter the item into the Lost and Found Tracking System, providing all required and available information. An inventory tag must then be printed from the Lost and Found Tracking System, and the item, with corresponding tag, should be appropriately stored.

NOTE: Items less than $100 do NOT need to be logged into the Lost and Found Tracking System, but must be handled in accordance with this procedure.

The repository will take reasonable efforts to determine the owner and to return the item(s), and must document the attempts made (emails, phone calls, letters, etc.).

Repositories must retain the lost item until either 1) the item is claimed by owner, or 2) the item has been held for the stated period listed below.

Certain Items Require Special Handling:

  1. Bicycles: see University Policy SY16 Regulations for Bicycles/Skateboards/Scooters/In-Line Skates/Roller Skates/electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices.

  2. Keys and Access Cards to University Buildings:
    1. Repositories must immediately forward such keys and access cards to the local access coordinator for the building in which the repository resides to try to determine owner.
    2. If no success in finding the owner within two (2) working days, the keys and/or access cards (as applicable) must be submitted to the University Police or campus security office/Director of Business Services for the location.

  3. Non-University Keys:
    1. If not claimed within 48 hours, repositories must send the keys to University Police or campus security office/Director of Business Services for the location.
    2. If not claimed within 60 days, the University Police or campus security office/Director of Business Services will have the responsibility of destroying the keys.

  4. Property Containing Items of Monetary Value and/or Official Identification Documents: this includes wallets/purses (including their contents), cash, credit cards, passports, driver's licenses, gift certificates/cards, canceled and voided checks.

    If such items are found, the repository must take the following steps:
    1. Immediately attempt to identify and contact the owner
    2. Add the item (including contents) into the Lost and Found Tracking System with all the appropriate descriptions. These should be entered as a single item, noting the various components in the description (e.g., Backpack with wallet, passport and laptop; include name if identified on the found materials)
    3. If unable to identify owner, or if there is no success in contacting the owner by the next business day, deliver to University Police or campus security office/Director of Business Services for the location who will assume responsibility for contacting the owner
      1. Items should be safeguarded if cash or personal identifiable papers are included. These items should be put into a locking file cabinet or safe overnight.
      2. If a finder has submitted claim, that information must be forwarded as well (see applicable paragraph in "Claiming Lost Items")

    After holding the item(s) for 60 days, University Police or campus security office/Director of Business service must take the following steps:
    1. All personal papers and documents will be destroyed
    2. If a finder's claim was submitted, the finder will be contacted to claim the items (see applicable paragraph in "Disposition of Unclaimed Items"). All electronics must be sanitized by Lion Surplus before providing to the finder. If no finder's claim was submitted, cash will be deposited into the General University Scholarship Fund by processing a Cash Journal in accordance with the instructions in SIMBA. The Cash Journal number must be noted in the Lost and Found repository
    3. Other personal items such as wallets/purses, backpacks, or electronics will be transferred to Lion Surplus or donated.

  5. University id+ Card:
  6. Loose id+ cards (i.e., id+ cards found without other items) must be immediately forwarded to the id+ Office, who will be responsible for contacting the rightful cardholder.

    Any id+ cards that are found with other items, such as a wallet, purse, keys, or other cards (credit cards), will be held by a repository until the next business day, while attempts are made to contact the rightful cardholder. If the repository is unable to contact the rightful cardholder within next business day, the id+ card (along with all the other contents contained with the id+ card) will then be sent to the University Police.

    University Police will continue to identify and contact the id+ card owners when any items containing id+ Cards are turned into them. If the owner has not been located within the next business day, the id+ Cards will be hand delivered by University Police to id+ Office.

  7. Non-Canceled, 2-Party Checks:
  8. Any 2-Party checks found that have not been canceled will be immediately mailed to the name and address on the check.

  9. Weapons, Fireworks, Explosives or Other Dangerous Materials:
  10. Repositories must immediately contact University Police or campus security office/Director of Business Services for the location.

  11. Prescription Drugs, Illegal or Contraband Drugs, or Paraphernalia:
  12. Repositories must immediately contact University Police or campus security office/Director of Business Services for the location.

Repositories may utilize the tables below as a "quick reference" for determining what to do with a found item:

Cash/Coins YES Next Business Day University Police
Keys, Access Credential Devices (ACDs) YES Next Business Day University Police
Wallet, Cash, Credit Cards id+ Cards, Checks YES Next Business Day University Police
id+ Cards (found without any other items) YES Next Business Day id+ Office
Jewelry, Gold, Silver YES 60 days Lion Surplus
Claimable item of value to others - Resale Value greater than $100 YES 60 days Lion Surplus
Claimable items of value to others - Resale value less than $100 NO 60 days Trash to Treasure
Dangerous or Illegal Items DO NOT ACCEPT - Contact University Police
Trash NO NO Dispose of Locally
Electronic Devices YES 60 days Lion Surplus

Examples of Items in Each Category (not complete; for example only):

Cash/Coins Coins, dollar bills, foreign currency, travelers checks, etc.
Keys, Access Credential Devices (ACDs) Keys, access cards, fobs (University and non-University)
Wallet, Credit Card, ID, Checks Wallets, credit cards, IDs, driver's license, checks, gift cards, third party checks, passports, etc
Jewelry, Gold, Silver Fine jewelry and cosmetic jewelry; Gold or silver coins, items made from gold or silver
Claimable item - Of value to others. Having resale value Clean, unstained, undamaged clothing, umbrellas, binoculars, backpacks, CDs, toys, sporting equipment, etc.
Claimable Item - Only valuable to original owner. No resale value Low value clothing or shoes, stained or damaged clothing, notebooks, address books, correspondence, stained or damaged backpacks, etc.
Dangerous or illegal items Weapons, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, etc.
Trash. No one would claim item. (See "Exclusions From Special Handling By Repositories") Garbage, broken or unsanitary items, food, beverage, alcoholic beverages, personal hygiene or cosmetic items, soiled or otherwise unusable clothing or personal items, common items less than $10 such as pens, pencils, markers, etc.
Electronic Devices Mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, MP3 players, tablets, cameras, etc. (Note: all electronic equipment must be sanitized by Lion Surplus prior to disposition. Cell phones must be destroyed by Lion Surplus.)


Claiming Lost Items:

Offices or individuals who receive inquiries regarding lost items should refer the individual to the nearest repository. The repository will not release the item until the person claiming to be the owner has provided adequate details to identify the item.

The repository will release the item to the owner only after the owner has signed and dated the inventory tag or log. If the owner is not within a reasonable distance to claim an item in person, the repository may agree to ship the item, but the item should be sent COD. The repository must record the owner's name and address and the date the item was shipped on the inventory tag, as well as in the Lost and Found Tracking System.

Finders are eligible to claim the lost item if the owner is not located or does not claim the item after the stated time period. The finder must assert this claim at the time the item is turned in to the repository by completing a Lost and Found Finder Claim Form indicating they wish to maintain their rights as finders, and provide complete contact information and sign as appropriate.

Employees may not claim items found while performing their job, or at their primary work location.

NOTE: All electronics must be sanitized by Lion Surplus before being transferred to a finder. Items such as checks, credit cards, driver's license, passports, access devices (keys, ID+ cards) and other items with personally identifiable information are not subject to a finder's claim.

Disposition of Unclaimed Items:

After 60 calendar days, if there is a finder's claim, the repository is responsible for contacting the finder and coordinating delivery. Items that are not claimed by the owner or finder, and are still held by repositories after 60 calendar days, should be forwarded to Lion Surplus according to the following steps.

For items which are logged in the Lost and Found repository system:

  1. Indicate items which are being transferred to Lion Surplus in the Lost and Found Tracking System
  2. A report should be printed which lists all items being forwarded. Inventory tags, as created originally in "Handling of Found Items," must be attached to all items being transferred
  3. The person preparing the report, as well as a witness, should verify the items are included in the shipment, and should sign the report. The original report should be included with the items being sent to Lion Surplus. A copy of the signed report should be retained by the repository
  4. Items should be transported in person, or by requesting pick-up by Lion Surplus. At University Park, use of interoffice mail is not permitted to transfer items. At non-UP locations, items can be mailed or shipped, or can be transported to Lion Surplus, either with regular Lion Surplus pick-ups or by a campus employee
  5. Lion Surplus will verify receipt of the items and record their receipt appropriately in the Lost and Found Tracking System

Items which were not logged in the system should be boxed together and noted as being non-logged items for transport to Lion Surplus.


All electronic equipment, such as computers, laptops, cell phones, and electronic tablets, must be sent to Lion Surplus for sanitation, consistent with Department of Defense standard 5220.22-M. This applies also for any items which will be transferred under a finder's claim.


The Financial Officer is responsible for ensuring that procedures pertaining to the accountability and safeguarding of all cash receipts, cash funds, and other assets are established and followed in accordance with approved University policies and procedures. Regular audits relating to advances, cash, travel, equipment accountability, and other expenditures provide a means to protect University assets. The Financial Officer is responsible for working with Internal Audit when audits are being performed in the administrative area. Audits relating to sponsored activities or other audits performed by external auditors may also be performed. The Financial Officer would also be responsible for working with the external auditor and/or a central university officer related to these procedures.


University Records retention must be managed in accordance with Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management and retention schedules approved by the Records Management Advisory Committee, Office of General Counsel, and Vice President for Administration. These records retention schedules are derived from - or based upon - federal, state, and local statute or regulations, University Policy, industry standards, and business needs. All University Records must be maintained in such a manner to provide ease of access, establish a suitable audit trail for all transactions, and to be reviewed prior to disposition.

Upon completion of the retention period, University Records must be disposed of via secure destruction or transfer to University Archives, unless an exception to the disposition process set forth below applies. If the disposition method for University Records states “Review by Archives� on the records retention schedule, the employees responsible for those records should consult the University Archivist for a final determination of disposition. For University Records that must be securely destroyed, units may arrange for shredding services by either contacting the Blue/White Shredding Program or the Inactive Records Center.

Exceptions to the practice are as follows:

To safeguard the privacy of individuals, records that Personally Identifiable Information (PII), as defined in University Policy AD53 Privacy Policy, or student records, as defined in University Policy AD11 Confidentiality of Student Records, must be destroyed beyond recovery. For additional information regarding privacy and the protection of an individual’s personal information, see Policy AD53 Privacy Policy.

Additional questions may be directed to the Records Management Office.




For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this procedure contact the Office of the Vice President for Administration


Procedure Status:

Date Approved: October 9, 2020

Most Recent Changes:

Revision History (and effective dates:)