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Municipal Code

Chapter 10. Public Peace and Good Order

Sec. 10-40. Disposal of abandoned property.

Any personal property which has been abandoned, or which remains unclaimed for a period of 30 days after taking of possession of the property by city officers may be disposed of as provided in this section.

(1) Auction. Personal property, other than that personal property described in subsection (3) or (4) of this section, may be disposed of by sale at public auction. Such auction shall be held by the Marshfield Police Department, and the terms, conditions and advertisement thereof shall be as determined by the chief of police.

(2) Private disposition. If the personal property described above is not sold at auction, it may be disposed of by the Marshfield Police Department in either of the following ways:

  1. Return to finder. If the finder of the personal property is known, the personal property may be returned to such finder.
  2. Sale. If the finder is not known, the personal property may be appraised and sold to any person under such terms and conditions as may be deemed reasonable and appropriate by the chief of police.
  3. Disposed of as junk.
  4. In any of the cases described in subsection (2)(a)(c) of this section, the Marshfield Police Department shall maintain an inventory of such property, a record of the date and method of disposal, including the consideration received for the property, if any, and the name and address of the person taking possession thereof. Such inventory shall be kept as a public record for a period of not less than two years from the date of the disposal of such property. If the disposal is by sale, all receipts therefrom, after deducting the necessary expenses of keeping the property and conducting the sale, shall be paid into the city treasury.

(3) Dangerous substances, materials or devices. Abandoned or unclaimed flammable, explosive of incendiary substances, materials or devices posing danger to life or property in their storage, transportation or use may be safely disposed of immediately after taking possession thereof without a public auction, as follows:

  1. The Marshfield Police Department shall make a reasonable attempt to return such property to the rightful owner if the property has a commercial value in normal business usage and if the property does not pose an immediate threat to life or property, or if such property appears to be or has been reported as stolen.
  2. If such an attempt is unsuccessful, or if the property poses an immediate threat to life or property, in the determination of the chief of police, such property may be disposed of in any safe manner.

(4) Firearms or ammunition. Firearms or ammunition which have been abandoned, or remained unclaimed, for a period of 30 days after the taking of possession by city officers, may be disposed of only by return to the rightful owner, destruction, or transfer to the state crime laboratory under 165.75 Wis. Stats., the Division of Law Enforcement Services of the Department of Justice; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau of the United States Department of Treasury.

(Code 1982, 9.26)