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Property & Evidence

It is the mission of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Property/Evidence to receive, document, and safeguard all property and evidence submitted to the custody of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office by maintaining the integrity and security of the all items of property and evidence that we are entrusted with.

The Property/Evidence staff has the responsibility of monitoring and arranging disposition of each item as soon as possible. Items are released to the lawful owner, converted to department use, donated to local charities, scheduled for destruction, or sold to the general public through auction.

The destruction of all narcotics, weapons, and other contraband is accomplished in accordance with Federal, State, and County laws. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office has not only chosen to select a method that is ecologically safe, but is beneficial to the community.

Property Pick-up Information & Hours

Release of property is by appointment only, to schedule an appointment call (805)-934-6150 for Santa Maria and (805) 681-5356 for Santa Barbara. Property and Evidence are located at two separate locations: 4434 Calle Real Santa Barbara, CA 93110 and 812 W. Foster Road, Santa Maria, CA 93455

For further information on Firearms Information click here

Property & Evidence FAQ’s

1. Who notifies me if the Sheriff’s Office is holding my property?

It is the Patrol Deputy’s responsibility to attempt to locate and notify owners. Generally, when property is seized as evidence or safekeeping, a receipt will be left with the person it was taken from. This receipt will contain the Sheriff’s case number, and you will need this number when you contact the Sheriff’s Property & Evidence.

2. What are the criteria for retrieving my property from the Property & Evidence?

Case Number: You will need this number as it is referenced to the property.

Evidence: If the property was seized as evidence, the investigator assigned to the case must sign a release saying that you may pick up the item(s). Only the person listed as the owner of the property is authorized to pick up the item(s) up. If the owner is hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated, a power of attorney form will be necessary. Valid photo identification must be presented in order to receive the item(s).

Weapons: Due to the complex nature of Firearms Laws please contact the Property Room for all information about Firearms and Weapons Releases.

3. How long does the Sheriff’s Office hold property taken for safekeeping?

Section 2080.10(b) of the California Civil Code states that property taken for temporary safekeeping must be claimed within 60 days after the public agency obtains possession or the property will be disposed of in accordance with the disposal provision of this article. It is the policy of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office to retain all property taken for safekeeping for an additional 30 days prior to scheduling the property for disposal.

If the department was unable to make notification to the owner of the property, or if the owner provides written notification that they are in custody and unable to pick up the property or have an authorized person retrieve the property, the property will be retained no longer than 12 months. It will then be scheduled for disposal.

4. How long does the Sheriff’s Office hold found property?

California Civil Code requires the Sheriff’s Office to retain found property for a minimum 90 days, after which such property may be sold at public auction. It is the policy of the Sheriff’s Office to retain all found property for an additional 30 days prior to scheduling the property for disposal.

5. Am I required to turn in found property?

Section 2080 of the California Civil Code states that any person who finds a thing lost is not bound to take charge of it, unless the person is otherwise required to do so by contract or law, but when the person does not take charge of it he or she is thenceforward a depositary for the owner, with the rights and obligations of a depositary for hire. Any person that finds and takes possession of any money, goods, or other material things, shall within a reasonable amount of time, inform the owner, if known, and make restitution without compensation.

Section 2080.1(a) of the California Civil Code states that if the owner is unknown or has not claimed the property, the person shall, if the property is of the value of one hundred dollars ($100) or more, within a reasonable amount of time, turn the property over the police department of the city or city and county it was found, or the sheriff’s office of the county if found outside of city limits, and shall make an affidavit, stating when and where he or she found or saved the property.

6. How can I claim property, which I have turned into the Sheriff’s Office?

Section 2080.3(a) of the California Civil Code states that if the reported value of the property is two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more, and no owner appears and proves his ownership of the property within 90 days, the Sheriff’s Office shall call notice of the property to be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation. If, after seven days following the first publication of the notice, no owner appears and proves his ownership of the property and the person who found or saved the property pays the cost of publication, the title shall vest in the person who found or saved the property unless the property was found in the course of employment by an employee of any public agency, in which case the property shall be sold at public auction.

Section 2080.3(a) of the California Civil Code states that if the reported value of the property is less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250), and no owner appears and proves his or her ownership of the property within 90 days, the title shall vest in the person who found or saved the property, unless the property was found in the course of employment by an employee of any public agency, in which case the property shall be sold at public auction.

If no owner appears to prove his ownership of the property and the finder fails to claim the property within 23 days after the 97 day holding period (value $250 or over) or within 30 days after the 90 days holding period (value under $250), or the finder refuses to pay all reasonable charges, then the title of the property shall not vest in the finder and the property shall be processed as unclaimed property.

If I feel that I have met the criteria to have my property released, what do I need to do?

Property & Evidence is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and can be reached by calling (805) 681-4100. You must call and make an appointment to arrange the release of property to you. Property is only released by appointment due to some items being located at other locations. This will provide staff with the time to transfer the property to the proper location.