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A wall full of keys hangs in the lost and found room at the University of New Mexico Police Department. The UNMPD office is located at 2500 Campus Blvd. NE and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A wall full of keys hangs in the lost and found room at the University of New Mexico Police Department. The UNMPD office is located at 2500 Campus Blvd. NE and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lost and found houses unclaimed items

That place is the lost and found office at the UNM Police Department, located at 2500 Campus Blvd. NE. Darlene Trujeque works at the office, which is the primary one on campus, and said she is skeptical about students’ awareness of the lost and found.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t think most students even know where their lost stuff goes,” Trujeque said.

In an informal survey conducted by the Daily Lobo, nine out of 10 students said they don’t know where the main lost and found is on campus. Three said they weren’t even aware the University had a lost and found.

“We want students to know we’re here,” Trujeque said. “If they have lost something we encourage them to come by to see if we have it.”

The lost and found is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., she said.

When students do lose something, Trujeque said they only have a limited amount of time to claim it. The lost and found office holds on to an item for 90 days, after which it is either sent to recycling, or set aside to be auctioned off at a bicycle auction UNMPD holds every April.

She said the most common things turned in are items students can’t do without. Some of the items can be costly to replace.

“We get lots of wallets, keys, books and IDs -- lots and lots of IDs,” Trujeque said.

She said the office does whatever it can to get belongings back to students. They call various departments to get contact information, or email owners of lost driver’s li censes and passports.

Trujeque said the problem is that many students don’t even bother calling back or stopping by.

“Students aren’t too responsible with their valuables,” she said.

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At the same time, there are many students who come to claim lost keys and IDs, only to find that they haven’t been turned in. Trujeque said she thinks students should think twice before leaving their belongings alone.

“People will take anything. They see what you have and they like it, so they will wait for you to leave or make a mistake (and they take it),” Trujeque said.

A collage of lost keys is displayed on a board that hangs on the wall in front of Trujeque’s desk. There are about 80, from individual keys to carabiners with a full assortment.

The keys are organized by car make, if there is recognizable car key, and a label is placed with information about where they were found, as well as the date.

Matt Rosetta, a senior chemistry major, is one student who did come by the lost and found on Monday. He said he came to see if they had some keys he lost about two weeks ago.

“I lost them around the Daily Lobo building, which is kind of far from here, so this is my last resort,” Rosetta said. “I just hope someone was honest and turned them in, I know that’s what I’d do.”

Rosetta surveyed the array of hanging keys, but his wasn’t among them. He said he was surprised at how many had been lost.

“It shows that people either don’t know where to go, or people don’t care,” Rosetta said. “I’d hope it’s not the second one.”

He said the only reason he knew about the lost and found is because he used to work for UNM.

Trujeque said in addition to the main lost and found at the Police Department, students can also check lost and found areas in most major campus locations, including Zimmerman, the SUB and Popejoy.

Violet Fratzke, a sophomore biology major who works the information desk at the SUB, said students can check with them for only a short time before the item is moved.

“We usually keep something for about two weeks before passing it on to the police department,” Fratzke said.

Ashen Gutierrez, a sophomore nursing major, said she had to ask around to find out where the lost and found was when she lost her wallet in the spring. She said she ended up having to get a new one.

“It would be helpful if all lost things could make it to one lost and found (immediately) instead of having to check every building that I was previously in,” Gutierrez said. “But I think it’s definitely foremost the student’s responsibility. They are the ones who lost it, so they need to go out and work to find it.”

David Lynch is a staff reporter at The Daily Lobo. He can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.

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