Unfortunately, almost everyone loses something sometime. Yet recovering lost property or taking of urgent protective measures are not quite so easy. Usually the police deliver any lost and found items in their possession to the lost property office in the Bürgerbüro (citizen’s office) within a few days. And there they sit patiently for six months or until they are claimed. For organisational reasons, the office often needs a few days before they can confirm a lost item is there.
The national 24/7 hotline 116 116 for lost cash and credit cards in Germany leads to a central service which helps block any lost or stolen cash or credit cards. It can also apply to other sensitive items like mobiles, smart phones or employee cards. The call is free of charge within Germany.
Any found items can be handed in to the citizen’s office or a police station (Polizeirevier). If after six months the true owner cannot be identified then ownership of the found item is normally transferred and notice delivered in writing. Some items left in trams or buses such as bicycles and umbrellas are auctioned at regular intervals.
On a lighter note: Your editor once read the words on a gift card in a store in the centre of nearby Düsseldorf. They read: I keep trying to lose weight… but it keeps finding me again!