Cedar Point working to return summer's worth of lost items to rightful owners

SANDUSKY Looking for your hat that flew off Millennium Force? Or the cell phone you forgot to retrie
Annie Zelm
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Looking for your hat that flew off Millennium Force? Or the cell phone you forgot to retrieve from the loose articles bin?

Chances are, you'll find it here.

At the Cedar Point police station, just below the ballroom and off the main Midway, Chief Ray Majoy pulls out what looks like a cardboard coffin of battered and broken cell phone parts.

"This is just from this past weekend," he said, dumping out at least 20 still-intact phones from another box.

Each year, employees at the park's Lost & Found department log several thousands of belongings guests leave behind.

As another season ends, they are busy taking calls, shipping out lost items and trying to match each with its rightful owner.

Majoy said the most common items by far are cell phones -- many of which fall from the coasters and are later retrieved by ride operators.

But they've also found sets of false teeth, the occasional glass eye -- and, once, a prosthetic ear.

"If it can come loose, we pretty much have it in here," Lt. Tim Rutherford said.

Rutherford said the selection used to be more varied -- with hundreds of cameras, handheld radios and iPods. But today's cell phones do it all -- and are small enough to slip easily out of guests' pockets.

With buckets of belongings pouring in each day, the six full-time Lost & Found employees must be masters of organization.

They typically receive the biggest influx of items in the mornings and nights, when ride employees and groundskeepers perform routine checks.

The items are numbered, sorted and stored until someone comes to claim them. When a guest reports something missing, they fill out a description, along with their name, address and phone number. After employees match the item with its proper description, they mail it to the owner free of charge.

Essentials such as wallets, phones and credit cards are mailed the same day, if possible. But other bulkier items -- like hooded sweatshirts or stuffed animals -- are held for up to a year until someone claims them. Anything reported missing but not found is kept in an active file with the hope it will turn up.

Chief Majoy fields a call from a woman inquiring about her cell phone.

He checks the number and informs her it's not in yet.

"Don't give up, though," he said. "Sometimes it takes a few days ... call us anytime. We're here 24 hours a day."