Have you been reunited with something you lost on the LIRR? Email reporter Laura Blasey at firstname.lastname@example.org and your experience may make it into this story.
Did you happen to misplace your framed “Pirates of the Caribbean” poster?
Check with the Long Island Rail Road. Inside Penn Station, the rail service maintains an office filled with the mundane and wacky items that get left behind, the poster featuring actor Johnny Depp in full pirate regalia among them.
Each year, passengers leave thousands of items on LIRR trains and at stations. In 2016, 16,882 items were turned into the lost and found, and 2017 was on track to hit that level again, the LIRR said. The office receives about 60 customer inquiries about lost items a day — that’s 1,800 a month.
Here’s a look at some of the most interesting items inside the LIRR Lost and Found.
Some, such as passports, keys and wallets, are commonly lost items. Others, however, easily stand out. Memorable items include a prosthetic leg, false teeth, a fur coat and a surfboard, according to an LIRR spokeswoman.
A look at the contents of the office’s storage space in November revealed a mixture of lost items. A bust of Jesus? They’ve got one. Other items on the shelves included a chain saw, an amplifier and a cigar-rolling kit complete with dried tobacco.
On Twitter, passengers have shared their search for lost items with varying levels of success.
“Big shout out to @LIRR and their Lost & Found team! The surfboard has finally made it back from Montauk! #ThankYou #LostAndFound #LIRR,” tweeted user @Semones in July.
Others haven’t been so lucky: one person created an account, @LumpytheLostMoo, after they said they left a stuffed moose with sentimental value on the train and were not able to recover it. Neither user responded to a request for comment.
Anyone can turn in lost items to ticket offices or the Lost and Found office. The LIRR also has dropboxes at yard facilities. Once items are picked up by LIRR staff, each is logged and entered into an online database. Then, items are stored at the office, where employees try to pair customer inquiries with database entries to reunite people with their items.
Potential owners of items will be asked to describe the item they lost in detail, including information only the owner would know, the LIRR said. If an item is found matching that description, the person will also need to provide a valid photo ID and sign out the item.
The office matched and returned about 55 percent of items turned in in October, about average, the spokeswoman said. Some items never receive an inquiry and some inquiries are for lost items that never get turned in.
Sometimes customers do the work: in October 2013, a man made local headlines for trying to return a stamp collection worth thousands to its owner after he found it on a Ronkonkoma line train. In November 2017, a BuzzFeed producer recorded his quest to return a lost iPhone to a Bay Shore man.