Police: Vast majority of recovered stolen items remains unreturned to owners ({{commentsTotal}})

A police warehouse full of recovered but unreturned stolen items, including a large number of bicycles. July 2016.
A police warehouse full of recovered but unreturned stolen items, including a large number of bicycles. July 2016. Source: (Rene Suurkaev/ERR)

According to North Prefecture Crime Bureau Maj. Toomas Jervson, a regrettably large portion of found or recovered stolen items remain unreturned to their owners for various reasons.

Jervson told ERR's online news portal that the first obstacle to returning these items is theft victims themselves not filing a police report for one of many reasons.

"Many people cannot be bothered to submit a police report or consider the stolen item to have little value," explained Jervson. "Although submitting a report has been made as fast and convenient as possible — for example, it can be submitted online on the police homepage."

According to Jervson, it does not matter whether a bicycle costs 50 or 500 euros, as every bit of info is important to police, and the more information they have regarding thefts, the more likely they are to catch the thief.

"Police can investigate isolated cases separately, but a thief can often be profiled thanks to a set of analyzed information," said the police major. "The more episodes of theft we can attribute to a suspect, the more likely we can prosecute them and the prosecuting authority in turn can request the appropriate punishment in court."

According to him, the return of found or recovered items may also be hampered when theft victims are unable to describe their items clearly or precisely enough — for example, if the only detail someone can provide about their stolen bike is its color.

"The police can only return property to its owner after we have made completely certain to whom it belongs," explained Jervson. "A police report is one of the first conditions which must be met. Likewise the owner must be able to describe the item, for example a bike's distinguishing features, including its serial number [as stamped on its frame]. Also helpful would be a purchase receipt, and a simple additional help would be photo evidence of the item."

A database of found and recovered items can be found on the Police and Border Guard Board's homepage (link in Estonian).

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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