Larry Weeks: a tale of found eyeglasses 2010.05.05

Written by David Green.

Early this week someone turned in a small pair of eyeglasses at city hall that they had found in Wakefield Park. City hall staff, understandably not really knowing what to do with these items, like so many other people, turned it over to me. To myself I thought I don’t know what to do with them either. See, in my years in Morenci I have never seen a police department gather so much lost and found property. Never really got into collecting that stuff with other agencies I worked for. Currently we have a fairly large collection of bicycles and some other odds and ends. We have also collected some unique items over the years as well, like a heavy punching bag, golf clubs and a wheel chair. My personal favorite was the hand operated hydraulic fork lift. How do you lose such a large item?

I look at these items when they come in and wonder about the story behind them. How did they end up in the street or someone’s front yard?

Most of the time it’s just keys, purses and smaller items, but unfortunately almost none of it ever gets claimed if there is no identification on it. It usually takes up space in our storage area for a couple weeks until I go through and clean it out every so often. If it’s valuable, then we sell it at auction.

What is interesting to me is that if someone had these items stolen they would call the police, but if they lose them they don’t think to check with us to see if they were turned in. On the other hand, if we find something we think of turning into the police. Weird?

For whatever reason, on this occasion I thought to myself, it’s going to be different. I was going to go the extra mile and get these glasses back to their owner.

They are a small pair of glasses so they must belong to a little person of some kind. So I took them to the elementary school and Mrs. Wood was kind enough to make an announcement to the students to see if anyone would claim them. A young man came to the office and described his glasses to Mrs. Wood and was clearly dejected to learn the ones I had were not his. I’m sure he was desperately hoping they were his so he could get out of trouble with his parents.

Not feeling discouraged I thought I would try the Middle School. I stopped into the office and asked Mrs. Fankhauser if she would be willing to check and see. Seemingly unsurprised that someone would lose what would appear to be an expensive pair of glasses she said she would check into it. Then she mentioned that she already had three or four lost pairs and then pointed to another pair sitting on a shelf that had recently been turned in. I left the glasses with her and told her I would pick them up later.

I returned in the afternoon feeling confident that she had been successful only to be told that she had not been. Again she was not surprised. She had checked with each of the fifth and sixth grade classrooms with no luck. She then recounted for me the plethora of lost items that regularly find their way into the office. Expensive glasses, coats, jackets and other clothes that remain lost from their owners. I left feeling the setback but still fairly determined.

Then on Thursday I was at the high school on an unrelated matter and told Mrs. Downing about my desire to return these glasses, hoping she might know of someone missing a pair. Mrs. Downing was not surprised either by my inability to locate the owner. She said that rarely do students come looking for them. She then reached into a nook in her desk and pulled out a handful of glasses. OK, now I was totally dejected and my determination in finding the owner of these glasses was waning fast.

How was I going to find the proverbial needle in a haystack and gets these glasses back to their owner? I continued on with other tasks for the day with the glasses in my pocket thinking maybe I would see a child squinting while reading or maybe someone walking along bumping into things and I could jump to the rescue and return the glasses.

As the week draws to a close and I’m realizing that the destiny of the glasses appears inevitable, the glasses will likely have to go with the rest of the lost property only to be disposed of when they don’t get claimed. Then I had one more idea. I could write a letter to the editor about my experience with the lost glasses and turn it into the paper. Then maybe, just maybe, the owner would come forward and claim the glasses. They are such nice ones too. They have rectangular lenses and what appears to be a fairly strong prescription.

Obviously I’m being a bit silly with this letter, but in all seriousness it just seems like a big waste to me. Hopefully, if you’re reading this and you have recently lost something valuable like any of the items mentioned here, I would encourage you to please check with the school or with us to see if we have it. Glasses are not cheap and I’m sure with tough times, they are not something parents want to have to pay to replace.

– Larry Joe Weeks
Chief of Police/Director of EMS

City of Morenci


• The Observer office also maintains an interesting collection of lost glasses and keys.

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