If you found a wal­let con­tain­ing $200 cash would you hand it in to the po­lice? Auck­lan­ders have proved they’re a help­ful bunch by try­ing to get lost prop­erty re­turned to its right­ful owner, as Jenny Ling re­ports.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Po­lice are com­mend­ing good sa­mar­i­tans who handed in thou­sands of dol­lars worth of elec­tronic goods and moun­tain bikes over the Christ­mas break.

Auck­land read­ers chose to shun the ‘‘find­ers keep­ers, losers weep­ers’’ mantra and did the right thing by giv­ing lost prop­erty to the men in blue in De­cem­ber and Jan­uary.

Two iPhones, a Nokia cell­phone, an Olym­pus cam­era, two men’s watches, a Kin­dle e-reader and six wal­lets in­clud­ing one with a small amount of cash were handed in to the Pon­sonby po­lice sta­tion which cov­ers Grey Lynn, Mt Al­bert, West­mere, Pt Che­va­lier and Mt Eden.

Pon­sonby Sergeant Ge­off Med­land says peo­ple were gen­er­ally hon­est, though it turns out many of the wal­lets handed in had been thrown from cars af­ter they were stolen.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t


a re­ward or any­thing, they do it out of hon­esty and con­cern for oth­ers,’’ Mr Med­land says.

‘‘In a lot of cases we are able to re­turn them.

‘‘Peo­ple are com­mended for do­ing that.’’

One­hunga Sergeant Rhys Smith says more than 10 wal­lets were handed in.

One con­tained $205 cash and oth­ers had be­tween $5 and $45 in them.

Three iPhones, an iPad and a dig­i­tal cam­era were among items found in Man­gere, Royal Oak and Green­lane and handed into the One­hunga po­lice.

‘‘Peo­ple of­ten bring in cash and cell­phones,’’ Mr Smith says.

‘‘More dis­hon­est peo­ple would keep the cash for them­selves.

‘‘The peo­ple that come to the po­lice sta­tion are very hon­est be­cause they gen­uinely care and want to get the item back to the owner,’’ he says.

Items handed in to po­lice are kept for about three months while in­quiries are made to try and re­turn them.

Af­ter that, per­sonal items such as wal­lets con­tain­ing credit cards are de­stroyed.

Driv­ers li­cences are sent to the New Zealand Trans­port Agency and ex­pen­sive items like jew­ellery are auc­tioned with the money go­ing to a con­sol­i­dated gov­ern­ment fund.

In the Mt Wellington area, three wal­lets, an iPad, three moun­tain bikes, three cell­phones, a bag of power tools, a suit­case full of clothes and $40 cash were handed in to po­lice.

Mt Wellington Sergeant Matt Smith says it is en­cour­ag­ing.

‘‘It bal­ances out the nega

tive stuff we deal with on a day to day ba­sis,’’ he says.

‘‘We al­ways try and find the own­ers as quickly as we can.’’

Mr Smith en­cour­ages res­i­dents to hand in lost prop­erty be­cause it’s ‘‘the right thing to do’’ and be­cause they could be re­warded.

‘‘Some­times if there’s no other iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and we can’t find the owner we give them a call and they get to keep it – there’s some karma there.’’

In his 20 years as a po­lice of­fi­cer Mr Med­land has had cases where wal­lets con­tain­ing $300 to $400 cash have been handed in.

And he points out another rea­son to be vir­tu­ous: ‘‘Pock­et­ing lost prop­erty could re­sult in charges of theft.’’

Hon­esty pays: Po­lice say many Auck­lan­ders will hand in a wal­let full of cash rather than be­ing tempted to keep it.

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