CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It isn’t often that Roger Hughes gets to return lost property to someone.
So when Hughes, an administrative assistant for State Treasurer John Perdue, saw a safe deposit box come into the state’s unclaimed property division with a name on it he recognized, he decided to try to get the items in the box back to their rightful owner.
That owner turned out to be Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt.
“It was stuff me and my ex-wife put in a safe deposit box years ago, and just forgot about,” Casebolt said Wednesday, after being presented with a box containing several collector’s coin proof sets and three family heirloom rings.
Casebolt was especially happy to get back the rings, which his former wife had inherited from her grandmother. “The sentimental value is way more than what the rings are even worth,” he said.
When someone dies and leaves a safe deposit box at a bank, or just forgets the box is there, banks hang on to the safe deposit box for five years before turning it over to the state treasurer’s office. Often, it’s hard to track down the owner of the box because they’ve moved, changed names or died.
It’s part of Hughes’ job to track those people down. He said that after a safe deposit box has sat unclaimed in the treasurer’s office for long enough, “we’ll drill the lock and try to turn the contents over to the rightful owners.”
Hughes said that’s what usually happens. He said there remains hundreds of thousands of dollars in unclaimed property just in Kanawha County…