Props to the 4D Cops

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“Dear PoPville,

I recently found a bunch of ID cards, credit cards, and metro cards scattered on the ground on Georgia Ave between Park and Morton. I assume the poor girl was robbed and wanted to try to get her stuff back to her. As I write this, it’s about 100 degrees out and I’m trying to avoid going outside. I googled the 4th district station number and, strangely, the 3rd district came up first. I got a rude woman who spoke like I was bothering her and told me to bring the stuff down to V street. It’s about a 20 minute walk from my place one way to 4th district station and, as I mentioned, it’s disgustingly hot. That said, I was going to make time in my day to do it, but it was going to happen later in the day.

I dug deeper and got the number for the 4th. They had officers stop by less than 10 minutes later where they took my name, number, and DOB and took down the details of where, when, and how I found the cards. The officers were polite, helpful, and genuinely seemed to want to help the girl out. I appreciate their courtesy and quickness.”

20 Comment

  • I once went to 3rd district and the officer commented that we (DC Residents) need to be more thick skinned like they were in NYC (where he was from). I was there to pick up a copy of a police report. He thought it was insane that I had called the police because a woman was trying to attack my child.

  • I Dont Get It

    Am I readng this correctly? Why would the police need your (DOB) date of birth?

    • Maybe if she had a common name for identification purposes? (Not really sure why they’d need it since she was returning it but… paperwork…)

    • ArchbishopofHillEast

      I know in other jurisdictions they run all of that information whenever they make contact to make sure that you don’t have any outstanding warrants. I had a buddy, in college, who called 911 because he stumbled upon a kid who had gotten jumped and needed medical attention. Long story short, he had a bench warrant out because of a paperwork mix up surrounding a restorative justice program for an open container violation and they had to take him in.

    • Because whenever you deal with the police, they consider you a crime suspect, or someone who can be scamming someone. With your DOB, they can check to see if you have committed crimes, or have outstanding warrants, etc. The police do not always act as your friend, even when you are approaching them in a friendly manner to help a fellow citizen who was likely mugged.

      • Yep. They have to eliminate you as a suspect and a receiver of stolen property.

      • Huh?

        No. That’s not true. You are the person who found the property, therefore you are the reporter of said property. That means I put your name in our system and as with most people I put in there, I ask DOB and phone and address. If you’ve ever reported something, you’re probably in there so it makes it faster. Additionally, if you find property and no one comes to claim it, it’s usually yours after 365 days. That does not apply in this case, but it would apply to money or a guitar or something like that.

        But feel free to keep up the narrative in your head about my job.

  • Police in the 5th precinct have also been very kind and helpful when I’ve found and returned nice purses that I find (one was empty, but had a HUGE key ring attached; I was all “no one tosses all their keys on a nice keyring like this”) and more recently a partially empty purse, with a metro card, a flash drive, and a restraining order. The first time they copied down all my info from my driver’s license, more recently they were just “yeah, you again.” (It’s probably good that I’m a nonthreatening white chick, and I don’t fit the description of anyone committing muggings.)

  • I had a similar experience with 4D and a wallet. Great job.

  • Last year I found a briefcase with personal belongings and papers dumped in the alley behind my house (in the 3rd district). I called 911 and an officer was dispatched to retrieve the briefcase. He was very friendly and professional.

    He also explained to me that MPD does not actively try to reunite the found items with their owner. He said they keep items for a period of time and if someone calls in seeking stolen items they will help out; but they don’t have the time or manpower to go looking for the owners of the dumped items.

    • “He also explained to me that MPD does not actively try to reunite the found items with their owner.” This is good to know, but kind of discouraging. Will keep in mind if I ever find lost property like this to take it to the police, but to try to locate the owner on my own too.

      • You don’t need much to get bags back to their owners. I was able to do so with a Walgreens card & a few minutes chatting online.

        • I’ve never found an entire purse, but I did find a single key with a gym membership card and was able to get it back to its owner (who turned out to be a next-door neighbor) by calling the gym.

    • I wish there was a way to set up a searchable database of property reported as stolen. I guess it would have to be limited to those who filed a police report to prevent people from claiming to have lost an iPhone, laptop, bike, and power tools when they didn’t. But if it was searchable by everyone then the finder of property could just look up “green LL Bean backpack” and find the owner (or an anon email address to contact them).

      It just seems like such a shame that someone might find the stuff that you were robbed of but you’ll never be reunited with it. I do get that MPD doesn’t have time for that though.

  • Great to hear that the 4D cops were so helpful! And shame on the rude woman who answered the phone at the 3rd District station.

  • About 9 years ago I found a purse on my front porch on a Saturday morning. The 4D police promptly sent someone to pick up the property and take a report. I also contacted the woman (her DL was in the purse) via facebook and informed her that her purse was at the station. The police were helpful and it was a very pain free process that required little effort on my part.

    • Curious: if you had a way to return the purse, why did you give it to the police?

      • It makes life easier, you don’t have to coordinate a meetup time or place, wait around, etc. The person can just stop by and pick it up when convenient and they know it’s secure.

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