Every year, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) handles over 100,000 recovered or seized property cases. Our Evidence Control Branch approaches this task with two goals in mind:
- To secure, catalog and store property in a safe manner, and
- To return all property to its rightful owners, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To recover any property, regardless of classification, you will always need photo identification [i.e., drivers license, employment identification, government identification card] and proof of ownership for the property. The proof of ownership can be a registration or title for a vehicle, purchase receipt, and, in some cases, a photograph of the property. Vehicles will be released directly from the Blue Plains Impoundment Lot.
As you begin this process, please be patient. Oftentimes, the decision to release property must be made by the courts, with a signed release from the prosecuting attorney. In some instances, a case must be fully adjudicated before property can be released. While the process can be time-consuming, please be assured that our Department will make every effort to return your property as quickly as possible, and to safeguard your valuables while they are in our custody. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call Evidence Control at (202) 727-3230.
How the MPD Recovers, Classifies, and Releases Property
Metropolitan Police Department Officers recover property under many different circumstances. Once the officers obtain possession of the property, they are required to classify and record it on a police department form (Property Record) and log the item in a property tracking system. Except for impounded vehicles and prisoner’s property, all property is then transferred to Evidence Control where it is held until final disposition.
Special Classifications and Procedures
The following is a list of the classifications under which property is recovered and special procedures that may affect the release of the property. Title 5, DC Code, mandates these classifications and the procedures for processing the property.
- Prisoners’ Property: This property is generally held at the arresting officer’s unit for ninety days. After ninety days, the property is transferred to Evidence Control where it is disposed of in accordance with provisions of Title 5 of the DC Code.
- Evidence: This property is generally held until the conclusion of any pending court action. Subsequently, the prosecuting attorney will initiate a “Property Release” certifying that the property is no longer needed for court and may be returned to the rightful owner.
- Suspected Proceeds of a Crime: This is primarily a holding classification for the purpose of investigation. At the end of a sixty-day period, the classification must be changed or the property released. Property retained after this time is handled in the same manner as evidence.
- Found Property/Safekeeping: Found property and/or unattended property is taken into custody for safeguarding until the owner is located. This property is held a minimum of 180 days while attempts to locate the rightful owner are made.
- Deceased Persons Property: To claim this property, a claimant will be required to produce a copy of the death certificate and documentation to establish next-of-kin relationship, or court- issued documents such as letters of administration.
- Impounded Vehicle: All vehicles that are impounded by the Department and not claimed within ten business days are transferred to DPW for final disposition.
- Held for Civil Forfeiture: This is a unique classification of property. Rules and regulations pertaining to filing a claim for this property are mailed by certified letter to all owners and claimants of record.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do the police have auctions?
The District of Columbia now auctions its surplus and recovered property online. Read more about DC Government online auctions.
How do I inquire if the Metropolitan Police Department has any of my property that was lost or stolen?
Every effort will be made to contact the rightful owner of recovered property. Inquiries about specific items of property can be made by contacting any of our customer service representatives by phone at (202) 727-3230.
What happens to my stolen vehicle that is recovered by the Metropolitan Police Department?
Recovered stolen vehicles are towed by licensed private tow cranes and stored at their respective impoundment lots. The vehicle owner will be notified by the Metropolitan Police Department of the recovery and the location of the vehicle.
The recovering police district coordinates this process (See phone list for phone numbers).
The Evidence Control Branch is located off Interstate 295. If driving, take the exit for Naval Research Lab/Blue Plains, and turn onto Shepherd Parkway, SW. Follow Shepherd Parkway to a left onto Blue Plains Drive, SW, then make an immediate right onto DC Village Lane, SW. Follow DC Village Lane as it turns right and continue to #17.
Evidence Control Branch
17 DC Village Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20032
The Impoundment Lot is located one block east of I-295 at the Naval Research Laboratory Exit.
Blue Plains Impoundment Lot
5001 Shepherd Parkway, SW
Washington, DC 20020
Monday-Friday: 8 am - 3:30 pm*
*After hours service/viewings available by appointment.
Additional Phone Numbers
- Office of Evidence Control: (202) 727-3230
- Blue Plains Impoundment Lot: (202) 645-5544
- First District Property Office: (202) 299-3386/87
- Second District Property Office: (202) 715-7297
- Third District Property Office: (202) 673-6825
- Fourth District Property Office: (202) 715-7409
- Fifth District Property Office: (202) 698-0165
- Sixth District Property Office: (202) 698-0866
- Seventh District Property Office: (202) 698-1457