What Happens When You Find A Working 42″ Plasma-Screen TV in the Mission and Try to Do the Right Thing By Telling SFPD About It
Basically you’re in for a world of hurt. Reader MC found a TV on the above street corner a couple months back, and we all puzzled over what to do in a post titled What Would You Do If You Found A Working 42″ Plasma-Screen TV on a Street Corner in the Mission? MC decided to notify the cops of his find, and they came by and confiscated it, telling him he might be able to claim it later if its rightful owner didn’t show up. MC wrote in yesterday with an update:
Alright.. here’s the update on the TV. It’s probably not that intersting, but I have to write it in the assumption that the SFPD have stolen the TV and I’ll have to file an OCC against them anyway, so I might as well send it on to you.
About two weeks after the police officers took the TV from me, I called the number on the Police Report. The woman on the phone asked for my case number, and describe the situation. When I began to explain she stopped and said “Wait – you found a 42-inch TV on the STREET?’ and I said ‘yes’ and she said ‘…and you decided to call the police…?’
After she confirmed the TV was, in fact, still in the property room, she told me I had to go to the 5th floor of the Hall of Justice to turn in paperwork if I were to claim the TV after the requisite 120 days. She then said ‘but you want to do it soon — it’s going to take a while.’ That was an understatement, as I was soon to discover.
On Tuesday 1/25/11 — almost exactly 2 months to the day I turned in the TV, I went to 850 Bryant’s 5th floor. I walked in to an unhelpful officer, who handed me a page of instructions 9 steps long and told me ‘good luck.’ The first step was to fill out the form and take to Department 18 on the 2nd floor. The following step was to take the document to the first floor.
I walked in to be greeted to a public explanation that everyone in the room would be required to submit to regular drug testing. A woman next to me was approached by a man in her suit, obviously her lawyer, who said ‘I bet it feels good to wear normal clothes!’ while a woman a few chairs away was still in an orange jumpsuit.
When the woman was done with her speech about rehab, I approached and she reviewed the form and passed it to another lady behind the bench. The woman placed it in a pile of papers, and I sat down. After a few minutes, another helpful staff member called me over and explained to me that I wasn’t going to get the document back today. The conversation went as follows:
Him: “You’ll have to come back.”
Me: “OK — where do I have to come back to? This room?”
Him: “Yes. Here.”
Me: “OK — how long?”
He pointed to a box that says ‘For Pick-Up’ and tells me I can get the paper tomorrow from that box.
At this point, I have to put the process on pause — and I’m only at Step 2.
I leave, and come back 24 hours later back to Department 18. Again, lots of sad looking people being told about rehab. I finally get the paper, and pick a date for my court date about one month out. I take the paper to the first floor (the third floor in just as many steps). After a brief wait, I’m informed that I have to provide the staff with 2 additional copies of the document, plus the original for him to stamp. He is not allowed to make copies for me. There is no public copier in the building.
I leave, frustrated and ride to the closest copy shop and make 3 copies. I return, get back in the same line and wait for help. This time, I’m greeted by a woman. She informs me that I don’t have a court case number and that I must write that I’m the defendant in the court case. I explain that there was no crime committed, and that I found the TV and turned it in. She, nicely, calls me an idiot and attempts to dissuade me from following through, because if I get the TV back, I will be listed as a defendant and it will likely show up on any future background check.
Finally, they stamp each of the documents and tell me that they must keep the two copies AND the original on the first floor. But, the instructions say I need an additional two copies for the SFPD (Floor 5) and the District Attorney (Floor 3). I explain that I’ve already entered the building twice, and rode my bike a few blocks to make the first round of copies; and she very nicely decides to hook me up with two more copies, no charge (thanks, lady!).
Now, I’ve turned in all forms as required — on floors 1, 3, and 5 of the same building — and am at Step 5 of the process. I have to wait for my court date on Feb. 19th at 9 AM, where I’ll return to Department 18 for my trial. Thankfully, these nine helpful instructions tell me what to do in case this doesn’t work and I’ve got at least another 3-5 hours before I’m a registered criminal with a 42″ Plasma TV…