I work in the evidence office for a local police department. When we recover items from a burglary, it is my responsibility to call the rightful owners and arrange a property return. Upon recovering a stolen camera and purse, I looked up the case number for the original burglary and called the phone number listed for the victim. Much to my surprise, the mother of the adult victim answered, and attempted to arrange a time for her daughter to pick up her belongings. Unfortunately, it is against our policy to make arrangements through a third party, and I requested the daughter’s phone number. The mother hesitated, informing me that her daughter was “only 23 years old” and was spending time with her friends that day, but eventually gave me the number.
I called the adult daughter and arranged for a property return for the following day. I advised the woman of what she would need to bring to establish ownership of her items, and requested that she call at least an hour in advance if anything came up that conflicted with her appointment. This is necessary due to internal movement of evidence — between locating, pulling, and checking out an article of evidence and making a notation on the chain of custody, it becomes very time consuming to put it back into evidence if the owner doesn’t show up for an appointment.
Five minutes before the scheduled appointment, I received a phone call from the woman. She informed me that she had to cancel, but desperately needed her items before the weekend. Frustrated but still willing to work with the victim of a crime, I requested the reason for her cancellation while I scoured my schedule for even the smallest opening during which I could return her items. That is, until she informed me that she was canceling our meeting due to a conflicting tanning appointment. She then demanded that I keep the entire police department open an extra hour so that she could make her tanning obligation and pick up her camera before her trip to the beach that weekend.
I am proud to say that I very politely informed (without any indication to my slightly twitching eyelid) her that there was no available appointment until the following week. Needless to say, she made her appointment with me and picked up her items. Not without very loud protest verging on a tantrum, but she kept our appointment. 0612-11