Crime & Courts Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Police manage evidence room carefully

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The items in the sheriff's evidence room, as spelled out in a court order last week, are mostly what you would expect.

A mixer and bicycles are among the items at fleet management, which sells unclaimed evidence.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
A mixer and bicycles are among the items at fleet management, which sells unclaimed evidence.

Glass crack pipes, spent bullet casings, fingerprints and dozens of guns are among the hundreds of items to be disposed of or sold.

Included among the usual suspects, though, are an empty potato chip bag, a leaf blower and a waitress's green apron with notebook.

Together, the items form the vast array of property and evidence collected on a daily basis by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. From January to March alone, roughly 1,200 pieces of evidence and found items were taken in.

"Ideally, we'd like more items going out than in," said Sgt. Ken Eskew, because storage space is precious.

Disposing of evidence isn't as easy as cleaning out the garage, though.

Eskew first does online research into which court cases have been closed. The evidence associated with those cases is added to a list for disposal or sale. Also added to the list are items of found property that have not been claimed in 90 days.

The list goes to a judge's desk for approval. The last step is a legal classified advertisement to give residents notice of the pending sale or disposal.

Whatever isn't claimed becomes property of the county and Ron Crowden's responsibility. Crowden heads fleet management and puts the valuable items for sale on a government auction Web site called

All told, the items sold last year brought in about $22,400 for the county's general fund after the Web site's 7.5 percent fee.

Selling lost property isn't the same as claiming goods under forfeiture law. Forfeiture means that the sheriff's office petitions a court to give it items that were purchased through ill-gotten means. It's most commonly associated with drug dealers' cash, guns and equipment.

Unlike auction money, forfeiture money has to be spent specifically for the costs of criminal investigations, such as overtime pay.

Some evidence is kept for years as a conviction's appeal winds through the courts. Biological evidence, such as DNA, is stored at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's laboratories. But the items that supplied that evidence -- a bloody shirt, for instance -- are stored locally.

"We keep those indefinitely," Eskew said.

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cruiser93 05/31/11 - 03:02 am
"Glass crack pipes, spent

"Glass crack pipes, spent bullet casings, fingerprints and dozens of guns are among the hundreds of items to be disposed of or sold.
Included among the usual suspects, though, are an empty potato chip bag, a leaf blower and a waitress's green apron with notebook."

WOW.... well, ahhhh, let's see..... I will have 7 glass crack pipes (one for each day of the week), The cheapest set of male fingerprints that you have, a couple dozen silver spent bullet casings and ah, let's see here...... how about an SKS, a Glock Nine, S&W 357 Security Six, Remington 30-30, 30-06, an AK-74U, AK-47, M-16, Mack11 and oh yeah, a Tech-9. Oh, anything in a Derringer or Colt.
I'll take that leaf blower too ! Well, that should do it for me.
OH, and if you don't have all of what I mentioned in stock at the Sheriffs Dept. I am sure that I can just stop by the closest school and pick it up.
Sad but it's getting worse by the day.... the gang members are "recruiting" our children by flashing money, drugs and pimped out rides. The kids want to be like them and so the cycle begins.
And don't fool yourself.... what I just described knows no cultural, racial or ethical boundaries. It is everywhere !

bclicious 05/31/11 - 06:22 am
It's sad, but true Cruiser.

It's sad, but true Cruiser. People; as well as kids, will always take the path of least resistance that offers instant gratification. I think we all know and accept that children are easily influenced. Yes, if you pull up in car that children would be impressed with, you talk a big game, and you show kids a fat wad of money; they are likely to do whatever you ask of them. Simply put, these drug dealers and gangs can offer our children more then we can afford to offer them. As we are trying to teach our children the value of earning a dollar, gangs are teaching our children how they could much more easily steal a $1,000.00 or make a $1,000.00 selling drugs.

How can parents compete with that? They really can't, because gangs and drugs are everywhere now. It does not matter if you are the best parent in the world, or the worst parent, the other kids who are part of gangs and who use drugs, have 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, to change your child's mind.


Stop pretending that drugs and gangs are not a problem, and stop being selfish by saying that you don't want to get involved. Yes; it is the job of the police to deter and stop criminal behavior; however, they need everyone's help. So, the next time you ask why:

"Why did this have to happen to my child?";

"Why is this happening in my neighborhood?";

"Why didn't the police do something to stop this?"

When you get done asking these questions, and you want to angry at someone, walk over to the mirror, and you will find the perpetrator.

Here's a list of helpful things that can help stop this kind of thing from happening in your area:

1. Make it a priority to get to know the police officers who patrol your neighborhood and community (cook food for them, invite them to a meal, invite them to community events, etc).

2. Volunteer to be a part of, or start a community-neighborhood watch program, and be vigilant about it (encourage members and citizens to be watchful, teach them what to watch for).

3. Help to do things might deter crime (ensure proper lighting is installed in problem areas, ensure excess plant growth is maintained by the cities in certain areas, encourage neighborhood foot patrols, distribute mace and proper self defense training to as many citizens as possible).

Ultimately, these are just a few starting points; the list is endless. The end goal is to show the local law enforcement that the community overwhelmingly supports them, and that criminal behavior will not be tolerated.

socks99 05/31/11 - 04:30 pm
Why might the public be

Why might the public be surprised that the police manage the evidence room well? If they didn't, should someone be fired or disciplined?

I'll bet the profile raising is linked to a bid to build a new evidence facility. It's the latest gimmick in public sector spending.

Riverman1 06/01/11 - 06:47 am
Interesting observations,

Interesting observations, Socks. I wonder how this article came about. If the RCSO called the Chronicle requesting a story you are probably on the money. Why would a reporter just jump up and write about an evidence room?

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