Recovery of Personal Property
A common question from many WTC survivors is how to inquire about recovery of personal property. Unfortunately, most of the property has been destroyed that day, but for the thousands of items that have been recovered, there is a process to identify the owners. In an effort to return jewelry items recovered, the Department is establishing a web site, accessible via password, to be utilized by the families of victims and survivors to assist in returning jewelry items. There are approximately 1000 pieces of jewelry recovered and stored at the Property Clerk Division. As of April 2004, 68.5% of all property recovered has been returned.
Individuals may inquire about property (other than jewelry) by writing to the Manhattan Property Clerk describing that property and naming the owner of the property. The NYPD will respond to your inquiry as expeditiously as possible. For more information on any general property recovered at the World Trade Center site, please visit:
The New York City Police Department announced the creation of the World Trade Center Jewelry Recovery website to facilitate return of jewelry items. There are approximately 650 pieces of jewelry that remain unclaimed. These pieces include watches and wedding rings.
To submit jewelry claims and for more information, please visit the following website:
WORLD TRADE CENTER PROPERTY (More Detail from the NYPD Property Clerk)
Since the World Trade Center (WTC) tragedy thousands of items of personal property has been recovered from Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills site and the Medical Examiner's Office at Bellevue Hospital. This property has been invoiced by the NYPD and is in the custody of the NYPD's Property Clerk Division. The majority of property consists of documents such as credit cards and pieces of identification. The Property Clerk Division's mission is to return all items of recovered property to its rightful owner or next of kin in the most professional and sensitive manner while adhering to guidelines imposed by local law. The Property Clerk Division is keenly aware of the sentimental value of these items and will make every effort possible to identify the owners and return the property regardless of its condition or monetary value. To assist in the often difficult process of identifying the owner of a piece of property, additional personnel resources have been dedicated to this effort such as Detectives, electronic technicians and even volunteers from the private sector e.g. jewelers. Serial numbers, inscriptions, even electronically stored information in cell phones and pagers are utilized in an attempt to identify the owner of a piece of property. Items which cannot be initially linked to an owner are digitally photographed and bar coded for future identification efforts. This identification process will continue indefinitely and all property recovered from the WTC will be retained until claimed by its owner or next of kin. Regulations which permit the destruction/auction of unclaimed property after a specific holding period have been suspended with respect to all property recovered from the WTC.
Guidelines for the return of World Trade Center Property recovered at the Medical Examiner's Office
When the identity of a deceased person from the WTC Tragedy is established, next of kin are notified by Detectives from the NYPD's Missing Persons Squad. The Detectives will also notify the next of kin of property recovered with the deceased and provide them with an NYPD property voucher number. The next of kin may then contact the Mayors Office -Community Assistance Unit, 51 Chambers Street, New York, NY (212) 788-7418 and they will arrange for the immediate return of the recovered property.
Property recovered from Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills site
When the owner of a piece of property is established, the NYPD's Property Clerk Division will notify the owner or next of kin via US Mail with complete instructions for claiming the property. The property is available at the NYPD's Manhattan Property Clerk's Office located at Police Headquarters, 1 Police Plaza, New York, NY Room S-20, Street Level. For the convenience of claimants, a special window has been designated at this facility solely for the return of WTC property so that victims or their next of kin will receive expedited service. A person who is notified that their property has been recovered may pick up their property simply by presenting adequate identification at the Manhattan Property Clerk's Office. Next of kin who are seeking to obtain the property of a deceased victim, must first obtain authorization to pick up the property from either the Surrogate's Court if the deceased had a will or the Public Administrator's Office if the deceased person did not have a will. Under normal circumstances the Surrogate's Court or the Public Administrator's Office in the deceased's county of residence would have jurisdiction in these matters, however for the convenience of WTC victims, special arrangements have been made with the New York County Surrogate's Court and Public Administrator's Office whereby they will also resolve these issues no matter where the deceased resided. Both of these offices are located in the New York County Surrogate Court Building, 31 Chambers Street, New York, NY which is approximately one block west of the Manhattan Property Clerk's Office in Police Headquarters. A copy of the NYPD's Property Clerk Voucher is necessary to receive authorization by either the Surrogate's Court or the Public Administrator's Office to obtain property of a deceased person. Claimants who do not have this document may obtain a copy at the Manhattan Property Clerk's Office. Questions relating to the return of WTC related property may be directed to the following:
NYPD-Manhattan Property Clerk's Office: (646) 610-7202
Mayor's Office-Community Assistance Unit: (212) 788-7418
New York County Surrogate Court: (212) 374-8233
New York Public Administrator's Office: (212) 788-8430