Captain Jason Daniels demontrates the new lost-and-found box. Photo by C. Leinbach
Captain Jason Daniels demonstrates the new lost-and-found box. Photo by C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich 

People on Ocracoke who have lost or found valuable items now have a reliable location to go.

A lock-box has been installed on the porch of the Hyde County sheriff’s department office beside the Ocracoke Convenience site. The box is similar to a bank night deposit box since the slot does not allow depositors to reach in.

The box will be used for both depositing found items and leaving a note about an item that is lost.

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Photo by C. Leinbach

“This is a great idea,” said Capt. Jason Daniels of the Sheriff’s Department about the new service.

Ed Fuller, Ocracoke’s chief ranger for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, also praised the new addition. “Park Service employees are approached frequently with items visitors have found or to report something lost,” he said. “Now we have a location to send people.”

Tommy Hutcherson, proprietor of the Ocracoke Variety Store, was also pleased to hear the news.

“Especially in the summer, visitors bring us wallets, sunglasses and cell phones they have found on the beach or somewhere else on the island,”  he said.  “Now we know where to direct people.”

Another location people have taken found items or wish to post that something has been lost is the island’s post office.  Postmaster Celeste Brooks showed a wall with keys near the counter that people have turned in. She said she doesn’t mind if people bring found items to her.

Items can be delivered, however, only when the post office is open to the public.

The box is located outside because the sheriff’s office is often closed due to the need for the officers to be on patrol.

Daniels brought out box of found property stored in the evidence locker that people have taken to the Sheriff’s office over the last several years.

“We’ve gotten wallets with money and credit cards still in them,” Daniels said, showing one with cash. Other items he displayed were cameras, sets of keys and cell phones.

Daniels and the deputies spend time trying to locate owners, but sometimes have no luck.

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Deputy Sheriff Blackburn Warner looks at found items dropped off over the past few years. Photo by P. Vankevich

The slot on the box is large enough to drop a small- to medium-sized purse.  He showed a green leather one turned in this summer that no one has claimed.

Flyers announcing that this box is available will be placed around the island, Daniels said. The non-emergency phone number for the sheriff’s office is 252 926-3171.

A year in the making, the need for such a community service was brought to Hyde County’s attention last fall by an editorial in the Ocracoke Observer. To read this, click here.

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