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The Lost and Weird Valuables of UNLV

Police Services is the central repository for UNLV’s lost & found items. You won’t believe what comes in and what never gets claimed.

Campus News  |  Dec 6, 2018  |  By Ariana Renick
woman in storage room

Police services' Rachael Carpenter helps reunite students and staff with the thousands of hydroflasks, textbooks, and hoodies found on campus throughout the semester. (Nicholas Endo/UNLV Creative Services)

You lose your MacBook Pro on campus. The only course of action is to shrug your shoulders and move on, right? Wrong! Head to the campus lost and found (though you might want to leave Lisa Frank notebook filled with the suggestive doodles you make during class unclaimed).

UNLV Police Services has collected more than 2,300 items this semester alone, with only about 20 percent being claimed and returned to owners. Rachael Carpenter, Police Services’ records technician, does her best to return items whenever possible, inspecting the lost treasures for identifying details and scanning MyUNLV and campus directories for the contact of students and staff. But, in the age of fingerprint and password protections, that job is getting a lot harder.

“We have every type of charging cord!” Carpenter said. “Before returning a cell phone or iPad, we’ll make sure it’s charged so the student can log in or share specific details about the screensaver or files with us to confirm ownership. We’ve even had a few students call us with their passwords to check.”

After a year sitting unclaimed at police headquarters, items are donated to various organizations. Electronics are restored to factory settings and sent overseas to soldiers. Blankets and towels are donated to animal shelters. Clothing is given to UNLV’s Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach to be distributed to those in need. And countless Hydroflasks and similar household items go to the Salvation Army.

It is a good day when Rachael gets to see the look of panic replaced with relief when she is able to return a student’s only set of car keys or reunite them with their flash drive containing a term paper during finals week.

Just recently a humble little spiral notebook was claimed - a $2 item that was priceless to the student who had transcribed a 30-minute piece of choral music, composed in seven different languages with notations as to correct pronunciation for each word.

Still, she can’t seem to get past how a $5,000 watch went unclaimed years ago and hopes the person who left their wheelchair behind made it home safely.

While there are a few things Police Services is unable to return (illegal substances tucked in your wallet) they would love to reunite a grille to its rightful vehicle; and, if you’re falling asleep at the office because you haven’t had your caffeine fix, they found your Keurig machine.

So, if you lose something, don’t lose your head. Just give Police Services’ Lost & Found a call at 702-895-5795 and report your lost item. You may just discover it’s already there waiting for you.

And if you find an item, no matter how unimportant it might seem to you, think of that student’s notebook. Turn lost items in at police headquarters at 1325 E Harmon Ave.