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Construction Makes Iowa City Police Clean Out Confiscated Property

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Big construction changes in downtown Iowa City are forcing an area agency to clear out of a space they’ve used for over a decade.

The Iowa City Police Department utilizes a building on the corner of Gilbert and College Streets for storage. Property that was found and turned in to officers or items confiscated during an arrest sits on the shelves.

“The majority of things are suitcases, backpacks, and duffel bags with clothing and toiletry items,” said Officer David Schwindt. “When someone is arrested or leaves these things behind, we might not be contacted by the individual looking for that property.”

That means that Officer Schwindt has to go through each item and attempt to track down an owner.

But because a lot of things belong to the city’s homeless population, that isn’t an easy job.

“Last time I cleaned this out in about October, another officer and I probably returned ten or twelve backpacks,” Schwindt said. “Sometimes they’re very surprised saying, ‘Jeez, I thought this was gone forever, I didn’t even know you had it.’”

But the storage space has to be completely cleared out by August 1 because the building is being demolished.

A new Moen high rise will soon be towering over the downtown district in its place.

And even though the Iowa City Police Department adds items to this building daily, they’re going to have to shrink that inventory.

“Just to try to keep on top of it, especially since we’re going to be losing this facility as a storage location,” Schwindt said.

The department also stores training equipment and bikes here.

Schwindt says a new home has been created for the bikes, but they’re still searching for a spot for everything else.