CHAPTER 239

RELATING TO STATE POLICE

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 83, TITLE 11, DELAWARE CODE, ENTITLED "STATE POLICE" BY PROVIDING FOR THE SALE OF LOST, STOLEN OR UNCLAIMED PROPERTY AND THE DISPOSITION OF THE PROCEEDS AND FOR THE DISPOSITION OF LOST, ABANDONED OR STOLEN MONEY.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Chapter 83, Title 11, Delaware Code, is amended by adding thereto a new section as follows :

§ 8306. Disposition of lost or stolen property

(a) Whenever any personal property of any kind, except money, comes into the custody of the State Police and the person entitled to possession of the same cannot be located and fails to claim the same for a period of one year, the Superintendent of the State Police may dispose of the same at public sale at some place which shall be convenient and accessible to the public, provided that the time, place and terms of said sale, together with a description of said personal property, shall be inserted in one or more daily newspapers published in the State at least once each week for two successive weeks prior to said sale. The Superintendent shall in his discretion fix the terms of sale and may employ an auctioneer to make the sale. If the personal property be of the kind for which a certificate of title or registration shall or should have been issued by any Commissioner, Commission or Department, whether State or Federal, the Superintendent shall cause notice by registered mail to be sent at least ten days prior to the sale to the owner and lien holder, if any, shown on the records of such Commissioner, Commission or Department, or to the person entitled to the possession thereof, if his address be known or if it can be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence ; and if said address cannot be so ascertained, then such notice shall not be required to be given.

(b) After deducting from the proceeds of the sale the expense of making the same and the amount of storage and any other repair or tow charges incurred during the period in which the same was in custody, and after the payment of all liens to which said property was subject in the order of their priority, the balance remaining, if any, shall be paid into the Police Retirement Fund of the State Police. All lost, abandoned, or stolen money shall also be paid into said Fund if the money is unclaimed.

(c) If the owner or the person entitled to any money in the custody of the State Police or to the possession of personal property, sold as aforesaid, shall present to the Superintendent a claim, duly sworn to, for such money at any time within three years from the date when it came into the custody of the State Police, or, at any time within three years from the date of such sale, a similar claim for the balance remaining from the proceeds of such sale, the Superintendent shall cause to be paid from said Police Retirement Fund the amount of such money or of such balance, without interest, in either case, to such claimant as may be legally entitled thereto. If no claim for such sale or such money is made within three years from the date of such sale or from the date such money came into the custody of the State Police, such balance or such money shall become the property of said Police Retirement Fund in the same manner as other sums contributed thereto. All actions of replevin for the return of any such personal property or money in the custody of said Superintendent and all other suits or actions of a similar nature arising by reason of his custody of said personal property or money shall be brought within three years from the date when the same came into the custody of said Superintendent or be forever barred; provided, however, that this sentence shall not be construed as implying that in the absence thereof said Superintendent would be subject to suit or action of any kind whatsoever and provided, further, that nothing herein shall be construed to waive the immunity from suit or action to which said Superintendent or the State Police would be entitled in the absence of this sentence.

(d) The certificate of the Superintendent that he has sold any such personal property to a purchaser as provided in this section shall constitute sufficient evidence of title to any prop-

erty so sold in order to enable any such purchaser to obtain a certificate of title and registration from the appropriate Commissioner, Commission or Department, which shall recognize such certificate of the Superintendent as sufficient authority for the issuance of a certificate of title and registration.

(e) This section shall not apply to any property the disposition of which is provided for elsewhere in this title.

Approved June 8, 1955.