Unclaimed Property in the Show Me State

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Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick doesn’t just keep the books for the Show Me State, he’s also a detective of sorts.

State treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick says one in ten Missourians has unclaimed property. And when it comes to safe deposit boxes, after a few years, they end up here.

“We get about a thousand per year that come in, that have to be opened and inventoried,” says Scott Fitzpatrick.

Those safe deposit boxes end up in the state treasurer’s office when someone hasn’t paid for the use of the box for five years. And when they get to the capitol, they have to be inventoried.

“There’s always three people in the room at any given time. They open the boxes and basically inventory what’s in there, they enter that into a computer so we know who each item belongs to,” says Fitzpatrick.

Some of the things they find are valuable.

“I mean, we have over $50,000 worth of gold coins here,” says Fitzpatrick.

Some are, well, unusual…

“We have a clown suit here that was in a safe deposit box, so I’ve been excited to show everybody that,” says Fitzpatrick.

And others generate a lot of questions.

“Before I was treasurer, they found a change of clothes, a ski mask and a handgun,” says Scott Fitzpatrick.

But most of the time it’s family heirlooms, like pictures and medals.

“When these folks in the unclaimed property division are opening these boxes, they’re learning a little bit about these people, and, you know, kind of their story, their life story,” says Fitzpatrick.

For now, these items will be stored, while Fitzpatrick’s staff looks for their owners. 

“After a period of, like, four or five years, if we haven’t found who it belongs to, we then to go ahead and take it and auction it at the unclaimed property auction,” says Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick says there is one exception when it comes to selling those items: they will never sell military medals.

After the items are sold at auction, Fitzpatrick says the money generated is held, in case someone comes forward to make a claim. You can learn about any unclaimed property you might have in the Show Me State through a link we’ve provided here.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.