BSO's Evidence Unit receives, catalogs and stores evidentiary, abandoned, forfeited and found property in accordance with state and local law. In its 32,000 square foot air-conditioned warehouse in Ft. Lauderdale, the Evidence Unit stores more than 900,000 items including bicycles, jewelry, office equipment, luggage, household items, electronic equipment and more. If you have property that, by law, was held by the Evidence Unit but may now be returned to you, se Claiming your property below for instructions on retrieving your property.
After certain periods of time specified by law, the Evidence Unit may dispose of property that is no longer required to be stored. In the past, the Evidence Unit held periodic "Sheriff's Sales" where this property was auctioned to the highest bidder. Today, BSO sells the property online at www.propertyroom.com, an online auction site specializing in property from police agencies across the country. Interested persons may view the items and submit their bids by logging onto www.propertyroom.com. All sales are subject to bidder's responsibility for shipping and handling. All sales are final. For more information on how to participate in this auction, log onto the website indicated above.
Claiming Your Property
Classified on your property receipt as "Found" or "Safekeeping" (with the exception of firearms) may be claimed at the Evidence Unit during normal business hours. No appointment is necessary. Evidence property is governed by special conditions.
If you're listed as the owner on the property receipt, present the receipt with the case number on it and a valid photo ID. If you are not listed as the owner, you must present proof of ownership, (for example, a bill of sale from the store where you purchased the item or a notarized bill of sale if the item was purchased from a private individual).
Found Property that you've turned in
- With the exception of firearms and contraband, found property must be held by the Evidence Unit for 90 days. If you wish to claim the property after that time (presuming the true owner has not already claimed it), follow these steps:
- By mail or in person, send the claim form (A-24) that was given to you by the deputy to whom you presented the property to the address listed below. This must be done within five (5) days of the date on the receipt.
- At that time, you must also pay a $25 claim fee that covers the cost of storing the property. The fee must be in the form of a cashier's check or money order made payable to the Broward Sheriff's Office. No other form of payment is acceptable. The claim fee does not apply if the found item is a bicycle.If the true owner does not claim the property within 90 days, you may claim the item at the Evidence Unit.
- If the true owner does claim the item, within 90 days, your $25 claim fee will be refunded.
Safekeeping Property (excluding firearms)
Safekeeping property requires an authorization from either the arresting deputy, case detective or a court order for release. Please contact the Evidence Unit to make sure authorization has been received prior to arrival. A valid photo ID will be required when you pick up the property. It is the policy of the BSO that Safekeeping property is held for 60 days and must be picked up within this time. Otherwise, it will be disposed of.
Per Florida statute 925.11 and 925.12, if the suspect in a felony case is found guilty by jury or if they pled in court, the property must be held until the sentence has been fully served, regardless of who owns the property. If the suspect was "Acquitted" of all charges, the property can be released with written authorization from the detective or deputy responsible for the case. A certified copy of a court order can also release the property at any time
The release of firearms is governed by how the weapon is classified: Evidence, Safekeeping or Court Ordered Domestic Injunction. If you're uncertain as to the classification assigned to your property, check with the detective or deputy who is handling the case. If you need more information regarding the release of firearms and weapons, contact the Evidence Unit at (954) 765-4351.
All persons entering the Evidence Unit to claim a firearm are subject to a background check for prior felony convictions. Firearms may not be released to a convicted felon. If there is any question about the adjudication of a charge(s), the weapon will not be released until the issue is resolved. Ammunition is not returned due to safety concerns, unless a court order specifies otherwise.
Per Florida statute 925.11 and 925.12, if the suspect in a felony case is found guilty by jury, or if they pled in court, the weapon must be held until the sentence has been fully served, regardless of who owns the property. If the suspect was "Acquitted" of all charges, the property can be released with certified copy of a court order authorizing release or written authorization from the detective or deputy responsible for the case.
Only a certified copy of a court order authorizing release or a special release from BSO's Legal Department is acceptable.
Firearms subject to Court Ordered Domestic Injunctions:
Release requires a certified copy of the court order lifting the injunction prepared by the judge who issued the injunction. There are no exceptions.
To obtain a court order for release of a firearm
A private attorney can arrange for a court order, or you can contact the Clerk of the Courts office at the Broward County Courthouse and request a Demand for Hearing packet. Once the packet is filled out and returned, the Clerk's office will schedule a date for a hearing. For more information, see the Clerk of the Court's web site.
Evidence Unit FAQ's
If you don't see the answer you're looking for, please contact BSO's Evidence Unit at(954) 765-4351.
What are the Evidence Unit's operating hours?
Effective May 1, 2013 the Evidence Unit will be open to the Public for retrieval of property from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We're located at 880 NW 5th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33311.
Can someone other than myself pick up my property?
Yes, however that person must have signed, written authorization from you (naming that person as the recipient) to pick up your property. Your signature MUST be notarized. The recipient must also show a valid photo ID to retrieve your property.
I've been notified that you have property of mine and I no longer want it. What should I do?
Just send us a letter stating that you no longer want the property and we will dispose of the items for you. If the item is sold at auction, however, you are not entitled to any of the proceeds.
Can I claim something that I found and turned in to BSO?
Yes, providing that certain conditions are met. Check our Claiming Your Property page for information on these conditions.
How can I claim my firearm you are storing?
The return of firearms requires special documentation. Check the Claiming Your Property page for details.
Does BSO donate unclaimed bicycles to charitable organizations?
Yes. If your organization is not-for-profit and classified as a charity, send a letter to the Supervisor of the Evidence Unit requesting the donation and we'll get in touch with your representative.