State to auction off unclaimed property

Forgotten safe deposit boxes, utility deposits, more among items


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property are sitting in a high security vault in Tallahassee just waiting for owners to claim them. And while the state waits for owners to claim these valuables such as diamond necklaces, historic dollars, silver bars and various other valuables, they are about to start auctioning them off.

Every year the Bureau of Unclaimed Property receives the contents of forgotten safe deposit boxes, utility deposits and much more.

"If it fits in a safe deposit box, we get it," said Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property Chief Walter Graham. "We have to identify every single item we get, we have to describe it. Eventually we'll sell these items because, as you see, we can't continue to keep these things forever."

The auction doesn't happen for years after an item is discovered though. First, banks where the property is found have three years to find the owners. If they cant' be located, the items are sent to the vault.

If an item is sold, the rightful owners are still entitled to the value of the item.

"Our goal is to sale these items for as much as possible to give back to the owner, should they come forward," said Liz Tatum, vault supervisor.

Since the Bureau opened in 1962, more than $2 billion worth of property has been returned to the property owner.

There are currently close to 100 boxes that are full of items belonging to people across the state of Florida.