Property and evidence

Many items of various personal property are collected and recovered every day. Once items are submitted as evidence or booked into the Property Room, only the property officers can handle or release items. All property releases are done by appointment only.

Evidence
Items held as evidence may only be released after any prosecution of the criminal case is completed (i.e.; by dismissal, plea, trial or after sentencing) and after a "case disposition" is received from the District Attorney's Office. The DA's Office must approve the release or return of all evidence in a criminal case. In some more serious cases, such as homicide, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, etc., evidence may not ever be released. If you need more information on the status of a criminal case, you can contact the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Property for destruction, safekeeping or observation
All ammunition, illicit drugs or narcotics confiscated or turned in to police will be destroyed. Recovered and cleared stolen property and items held for safekeeping or observation are released to their owners, upon proof of ownership, or eventually sent to public auction and sold. Some items in dangerous, unusable, or poor or damaged condition may be destroyed. 

Lost/found property
The California Civil Code section 2080.1(a) requires found property with a value of $100 or more be turned over to the police department. If unclaimed by the owner(s), the found items you turn in to police can be claimed by you prior to 90 days. Please call the Property Officer for instructions on how to do this before the 90 days is up. After 90 days any items unclaimed may be turned over to auction.

If you find property, please call the police as soon as possible. Found items may not be lost, but may actually be stolen or be an important part of a crime police are investigating. Your discovery of the items may help solve the case. Found property can be given to any police officer or brought to the police department 24 hours a day.

If you discover that you have property lost or missing, please file an online report as soon as possible.

Turning in weapons and explosives
If you have any firearms, ammunition or other type of weapon that you own and want to discard, you can bring it to the police department to be turned in for destruction at any time, 24 hours a day, or you can call us and a police officer will come to your house. If you bring it to the police department, make sure you follow all laws regarding transportation of the weapon and call us ahead of time to tell us you will be bringing it. Weapons turned in for destruction cannot be later released.

Claiming firearms
Any person who claims title to any firearm that is in the custody or control of a court or law enforcement agency and who wishes to have the firearm returned shall submit a Law Enforcement Gun Release Application to Department of Justice to determine whether he or she is eligible to possess a firearm (Penal Code section 12021.3). The application is available online or by calling 916-263-4887. It may take up to 30 days to process the application. Once the letter is received, it must be provided to the Police Department within 30 days, otherwise the process must be started again. Per Penal Code section 12021.3g, firearms may be destroyed after 180 days if unclaimed. Please follow the directions on the back of your property receipt for complete instructions on how to claim firearm(s).