Found, Seized & Stolen Property

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and the Winston-Salem Police Department merged their evidence management functions in 2010. All property and evidence stored by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is housed with and placed in the care, custody and control of the Evidence Management Section of the Winston-Salem Police Department located at the Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center until time of final disposition.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office follows the regulations set forth by the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Evidence Management Section in the releasing of property. In most cases, it is best to have an established appointment when retrieving property. This will ensure the necessary preparatory work is completed prior to the owner's arrival and will assist in reducing the public’s wait.

All property releases begin with the officer or detective assigned to your case. It is imperative that owners understand the obligations imposed by law to ensure the recipient is first, the eligible and proper owner as identified by law enforcement and the courts, and second, entitled to that property by local, state and federal laws.

Once property is declared eligible for release to owner, Evidence Management staff will mail a certified letter to the owner. In that letter are details as to how to claim the property, including the presentation of proper identification.

Property owners should obtain a case number before contacting Evidence Management. The owner should call and confirm an appointment with Evidence Management Staff at (336)726-7285. The owner should bring photo identification and any related forms or applications to:
Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center
1200 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC

Firearm Release

Firearms that can be released to the rightful owner are done so only after the federally mandated background check is completed. This requires the owner to complete a questionnaire and attest to the accuracy of the information contained therein. Evidence Management staff will notify the owner by certified mail that the firearm can be claimed, and along with that letter will be a questionnaire to complete. The owner is encouraged to telephone Evidence Management staff and establish an appointment to receive the firearm.

The owner will be greeted by a Evidence Specialist who will collect the completed questionnaire, proper photo identification and will then coordinate the mandated federal background screening which may take as long as 24 hours. Once that background screening is completed, and the standards to release are met, the Evidence Specialist will transfer the weapon to the owner.

All property releases begin with the officer or detective assigned to your case. Once the officer authorizes the transfer of property, the owner should call and confirm an appointment with Evidence Management Staff at (336)726-7285. Property owners should obtain a case number before contacting Evidence Management. The owner should bring photo identification and any related forms or applications to:
Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center
1200 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC

Vehicle Release

All vehicles deemed eligible for release to the owner should be arranged on appointment basis. While appointments are not required, they are recommended due to the time involved in a vehicle release. Once a vehicle is eligible for release, a certified letter is mailed to the owner. The owner is encouraged to establish contact with Evidence Management staff to obtain the details necessary to complete the transfer of the vehicle. Payment of administrative fees, towing fees, and storage fees all may apply. The owner may be required to pay some fees at the Public Safety and Support Center (Evidence Management), and to then pay the contracted wrecker service at their business location to complete the transfer. If the vehicle is stored at the Evidence Holdover Lot, the owner will be required to accompany the Evidence Specialist to the lot located off Highway 52. The owner will be required to provide their own transportation to where the vehicle is stored and will have to demonstrate availability of a third party to operate or tow the stored vehicle. In all cases involving vehicle releases, the owner is responsible for all maintenance and mechanical issues involving the release of the vehicle.

The owner must produce proper identification to include a valid operator's license along with title information or bill of sale.

All property releases begin with the officer or detective assigned to your case. Once the officer authorizes the transfer of property, the owner should call and confirm an appointment with Evidence Management Staff at (336)726-7285. Property owners should obtain a case number before contacting Evidence Management. The owner should bring photo identification and any related forms or applications to:
Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center
1200 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC

Bicycles

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office encourages owners of lost or stolen bicycles to first, file a report of the loss or theft, and second, maintain a sufficient description of the bicycle in order to make a proper claim if that bicycle is recovered. Winston-Salem Police Department Evidence Management staff encounters two basic categories of this type of property. Bicycles deemed eligible for release that also have an identified owner and bicycles deemed eligible for release but no owner is identified. In the cases when the owner is identified, a certified letter is mailed and that letter contains information on how to claim the bicycle. When an owner is not known, state law mandates the disposition of bicycles after 60 days of unclaimed storage. Bicycles meeting 60 days of unclaimed storage status are released to a 501 (c) (3) organization as provided by law.

All property releases begin with the officer or detective assigned to your case. Once the officer authorizes the transfer of property, the owner should call and confirm an appointment with Evidence Management Staff at (336)726-7285. Property owners should obtain a case number before contacting Evidence Management. The owner should bring photo identification and any related forms or applications to:
Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center
1200 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC

Cash Release

Cash money is not commonly physically stored in evidence management. When evidence management receives cash, it is deposited into the bank and when it is approved by the case officer or detective for release, the owner is sent a letter notifying them of the availability of the money. Once the owner contacts Evidence Management personnel to claim that money, the process of obtaining the paper check begins and may take between two and three weeks. Cash releases are in the form of a Forsyth County governmental paper check, and require advance coordination for disbursement. When the owner fails to claim the cash, it is transferred to the NC State Treasurer's Office, Unclaimed Property Fund, for disbursement to the owner. Owners seeking to claim cash should utilize the web site: www.nctreasurer.com/Claim-Your-Cash and conduct a free database search to begin the claim process. Owner may run last name, business name and first name, or conduct a search by city/town.

All property releases begin with the officer or detective assigned to your case. Once the officer authorizes the transfer of property, the owner should call and confirm an appointment with Evidence Management Staff at (336)726-7285. Property owners should obtain a case number before contacting Evidence Management. The owner should bring photo identification and any related forms or applications to:
Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center
1200 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC

Property Auctions

The disposal of unclaimed property is regulated by law. One of the options permitted is for the agency to auction property. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office auctions unclaimed property through the evidence management section via the Internet website, Property Room.com. The website is http://www.propertyroom.com/ (external website) and items of value are consigned to this organization and offered for sale, similar to other commercial auction sites.

The major difference between this site and other commercial enterprises is that PropertyRoom.com provides restitution for these sales to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, in the form of payments through the City of Winston-Salem. Items posted for public auction are submitted by police and sheriff's offices from across the nation on propertyroom.com. Only items meeting the stringent standards authorized by North Carolina General Statutes are disposed of through this manner. All personnel are authorized to place bids on property after following basic login and registration processes. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to participate in the open and free auctions offered through this website.

All property releases begin with the officer or detective assigned to your case. Once the officer authorizes the transfer of property, the owner should call and confirm an appointment with Evidence Management Staff at (336)726-7285. Property owners should obtain a case number before contacting Evidence Management. The owner should bring photo identification and any related forms or applications to:
Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety and Support Center
1200 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC

Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The evidence supervisor can be reached at (336)726-7270.