Mason County’s Property/Evidence System

The primary duty of this area is maintaining the physical integrity and control of evidentiary items in the custody of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

Designing, operating, and maintaining the evidence and property control function in the criminal justice system is more critical than ever for professional law enforcement agencies.

The MCSO has been recognized as meeting the most stringent and best practices in the ever-evolving area of evidence maintenance by receiving and maintaining accreditation with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC). We proactively address the challenges of evidence and property management in criminal prosecution, evidence preservation and disposition, and general property handling. Accreditation provides assurance that we meet recognized standards in the field as well as a formal on-going process for evaluation and improvement. Accreditation strengthens collaboration and accountability between public safety, the court systems, and our communities.

Currently the property and evidence room is operated by one Evidence Technician who is responsible for receiving, recording, storing, retrieving, and disposing of every item according to departmental policy, accreditation standards, and Washington State Law. The Evidence Technician also responds to criminal scenes to collect and process evidence.

The Sheriff’s Office evidence property system currently holds over 16,000 items, stored at the main property room at the Sheriff’s Office and an offsite facility. We take in between 2,000 and 3,000 items per year and dispose of over 2,000 items a year per departmental policy, accreditation standards, and Washington State Law. Disposal can include returning the item to its owner or next of kin, incineration, auctioning, and tossing it in the trash.

What is the Property Room?

The Property Room stores evidence, safekeeping and found property for Mason County Sheriff’s Office. The Evidence Officer is responsible for retrieving, securing, and storing property and ensuring proper chain-of-custody in the event evidence is needed for court proceedings. Our single full-time Evidence Officer services 961 square miles — home to approximately 61,000 people.

In addition, the Property Room disposes of narcotics; illegal, unclaimed or unwanted weapons and other property; and endeavors to return found property to the rightful owner(s). Disposal methods include incineration, melting and auction.

Additional duties include but are not limited to:

  • The control, transmission, and receipt of evidentiary items required for forensic analysis by the Washington State Crime Laboratory entities.
  • The introduction of evidentiary items into Superior and District Courts.
  • The placement of legal items for public auction for those items that is unclaimed or seized by competent authority.
  • To have direct contact with individuals about property that is authorized to be returned.
  • To dispose of all evidentiary/property items upon completion of criminal court proceedings when authorized by competent authority.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office disposes of unclaimed Evidence and found Property on-line. The on-line auctions are conducted by Property Room

Auction rules and guidelines can be found at the website listed.

Items are released to in an on-going fashion, to facilitate the best use of limited storage space maintained by the Sheriffs Office.

How do I Report Lost, Stolen or Found Items?

To report an item stolen, found, or a firearm lost in Mason County, please call the Communications Center’s non-emergency line at (360) 426-4441. Provide the operator with as much information as possible, including the item’s make, model, serial number or owner applied number.

How Can I Find My Lost or Stolen Property?

The best way to find property once it is lost or stolen is to have up-to-date records, pictures or video noting serial and model numbers if available, or to place an ‘owner applied number’ on items without a serial number. Unique numbers make identifying and matching items to the rightful owner simpler, as a national database is used to track stolen and recovered items via serial number once the item is reported lost, stolen or found. However, if this information is not available, a detailed description will help, as will a general idea of when and where the property was lost or stolen.

The Property Room holds found property for sixty (60) days, after which time items may be disposed of or auctioned per state law. Items of a personal nature (such as identification or credit cards) are destroyed, or (in the case of passports, military ID’s EBT cards, or mail) returned to the proper agency.

To see if the Property Room is holding your found property, please be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What is the property and description?
  • Does it have a serial number?
  • Have you reported the property lost or stolen
  • Where and when was it lost or stolen?
  • Did you report it lost or stolen?
  • Did you receive a phone call or letter notifying you of the recovery?
  • Do you have a MCSO case number?
  • Do you have proof of ownership?
  • Have you received information that MCSO has your property?

The Property Room will make every effort to return property to the rightful owner(s). If an item is turned in where it can be traced back to someone by name, phone number, address or serial number, a Property Officer will attempt to contact the owner via phone or letter to make arrangements to return the item.

What happens to found property if an owner is not located?

Depending on the item’s condition, after sixty (60) days the item will either be disposed of or auctioned in accordance with state law. The person who finds the property may request to claim the property if an owner is not found within the required time period. Claim paperwork may be obtained from the investigating deputy or by calling the Sheriff’s Office at (360) 427-9670 Ext 721 and must be filed within seven (7) days of the find.

After receiving claim paperwork, the finder will be required to place an ad in the Shelton Journal. If no owner appears within the sixty day time period, the finder has thirty (30) days to claim the item.

The Property Room Has My Property, How Do I Get it Back?

Safekeeping and Found Property:
Call the Property Room at (360) 427-9670 Ext 721 to schedule an appointment. If ownership cannot be determined or a firearm is involved, you may be required to obtain a property release.

If you are a defendant and your case is pending:
Contact your attorney or assigned council to request a property release from the Prosecutor’s Office. Once that release is obtained, contact the Property Room to schedule an appointment.

If you are a victim, or a defendant on a closed case:
You must file a claim for your property with the originating police agency. Mason County Sheriff’s Office claim forms can be obtained from The Sheriff’s Office in Shelton or the Belfair Substation. Review and processing may take up to four (4) weeks. Once the release is obtained, contact the Property Room to schedule an appointment for the release of the property.

Appointment policy

Appointments are required for all property releases. The Property/Evidence Room operates a facility in the Sheriff’s Office located at 322 North 3rd St., in Shelton, and an off-site warehouse. Many items are stored at our off-site warehouse, so appointments are necessary to allow for transport time to our office.

In addition, background checks are required for the release of any firearm. This is required even if you possess a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). These checks take approximately forty-eight (48) hours advance notice to complete.

Picture ID (state-issued identification card, driver’s license, passport or military ID) is required at time of release. Photocopies are not accepted.