WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ While the R.I. Unclaimed Property Division has reunited Rhode Islanders with more than $263 million in cash, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner tells 12 News the program has also connected residents with other valuables.
Magaziner said the unclaimed valuables, which can include jewelry, trading cards or silverware, are kept safe inside a vault in the basement of the R.I. Unclaimed Property Division.
“It can be family heirlooms that have gone missing, and part of our job is to reunite Rhode Islanders with those missing treasures,” Magaziner said.
He said each items’ journey to the vault is unique; it could come from an old safety deposit box that has gone dormant, a police department or even a hospital.
“If an individual passes in a hospital and has jewelry and other items on them, and the hospital is not readily able to find the next of kin, those items come to us and it becomes our job to find the next of kin,” Magaziner explained.
The object must remain in the vault untouched for one year, Magaziner said, before it’s catalogued into their system.
“We will hold onto these items for as long as it takes before we can reunite them with their rightful owner,” Magaziner said.
Since 2015, more than 320 tangible items have been reunited with their owners, according to Magaziner. Of those items, 23 were returned to their rightful owners within the last year alone.
Magaziner encouraged all Rhode Islanders to visit the FindRIMoney database to see whether they’re missing out on any unclaimed property. He also encouraged everyone to search their family members’ names as well.
“Search for your parents, your grandparents … because for many of these items, the original owner is deceased,” Magaziner said.
Once someone claims the property online, the R.I. Unclaimed Property Division will work with that individual to confirm they’re the rightful owner.