[HISTORY: Adopted by the Commissioners of the City of Rehoboth Beach 11-8-1974 as Ch. 2, Art. 7, of the 1974 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Whenever any personal property of any kind, except money, comes into the custody of the Police Department and the person entitled to possession of such property cannot be located and fails to claim the property for a period of one year, the Chief of the Police Department may dispose of the property at public sale at some place which shall be convenient and accessible to the public.
The time, place and terms of the sale, together with the description of the personal property, shall be inserted in a newspaper of general circulation within the corporate limits of the city and one additional newspaper which shall be of general circulation in the state at least once each week for two successive weeks prior to the sale. The Chief of the Police Department 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 Chief of Police shall cause notice by registered mail to be sent at least 10 days prior to the sale to the owner and lienholder, if any, shown by 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. If the address cannot be so ascertained, then the notice shall not be required to be given.
After deducting the proceeds of the sale, the expense of making the sale, the amount of any storage and any other repair or towing charges incurred during the period in which the property was in custody, and after the payment of all liens to which the property was subject in the order of their priority, the remaining balance, if any, shall be delivered to the City Manager to be disposed of as directed by the Commissioners. All lost, abandoned or stolen money shall also be paid to the City Manager of the city to be disposed of as directed by the Commissioners, if the money is unclaimed.
If the owner or the person entitled to any money or personal property sold at public auction in the custody of the Police Department or the City Manager shall present to the City Manager a claim, duly sworn to, for such money at any time within three years from the date when it came into the possession of the Police Department 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 City Manager shall cause to be paid from the general fund of the city the amount of such money or of such balance, without interest, to such claim 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 Police Department, the balance of such money shall become the property of the city.
All actions for replevin or the return of any such personal property or money in the custody of the Police Department or of the City Manager and all other suits or actions of a similar nature arising by reason of their custody of the personal property or money shall be brought within three years from the date when such property came into the custody of the Police Department or be forever barred.
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as implying that, in the absence thereof, the Police Department or the City Manager would be subject to suit or action of any kind whatsoever. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to waive the immunity from suit or action to which the Chief of Police or the Police Department or the City Manager would be entitled.
The certificate of the Chief of Police that he has sold any personal property to a purchaser, as provided in this chapter, shall constitute sufficient evidence of title to any property 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 the certificate of the Chief of Police as sufficient authority for the issuance of a certificate of title and registration.