New guidelines allow Rhinelander police to get rid of unclaimed propertySubmitted: 06/17/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander police can start cleaning out the department's evidence storage.

Some of that evidence dates back to the early 1990s.

A few months ago, the department asked the city council to pass an ordinance telling the department how to go about getting rid of unclaimed property.

The city council did just that.

"The new ordinance, as it's been passed, is going to allow us to be able to contact people who had the rights to that property, see if they're still interested in it, and if they're not, we'll be able to auction the property off," said Rhinelander Police Chief Michael Steffes.

The people will have 30 days to claim their property.

Officers haven't started going through the evidence room yet.

"Our detectives, as they have discretionary time, will be able to go into there, assess cases that are - starting with our oldest cases that we have, determine whether or not the cases have completely gone through the courts, and if the evidence is available to be disposed of," Steffes explained.

The department will most likely use an online auction site.

Unclaimed cash and any money made from the auction will be put in the city's general fund.

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