ST. JOHNSBURY — Sometimes it’s a found key that is held at the police department until its rightful owner arrives to claim it. Other times it could be a wallet or a purse. On Thursday, it was heroin … 19 bags of it.
The police department issued this alert via social media on Thursday morning: “Found Property. The St. Johnsbury Police Department was called to the White Market on July 5, 2019 for a report of found property. On arrival, staff turned over 19 bags of heroin that apparently was errantly dropped. The owner may claim it at the St. Johnsbury Police Department with proper identification.”
The PD often issues public statements hoping to connect items lost in the village with the owners of those items. The social media message seeking the owner of the lost heroin is unusual in that the property found is illegal to possess.
Admittedly, said Tony Skelton, St. Johnsbury dispatch operations manager and one of the managers of the PD’s social media space, they don’t expect the person who left the heroin at the supermarket will try to get it back by walking into the police station.
But in the unlikely scenario that did happen?
“If they were really serious that it was their heroin they would probably be charged with possession,” he said.
“[The post] was more of a humorous thing,” he said. “But it’s also to raise awareness.”
Judging by numerous online responses to the message shortly after it was posted, those were two of the takeaways. Lots of laughing face emojis accompanied comments from people hoping the owner of the drugs tried to get it back from the police. Other comments expressed concern that heroin could be left in a such a public space where children could have found it.
Police tried to determine how and by whom the drugs were dropped at the store. Video surveillance was not helpful, Skelton said, because the area the drugs were found was in a camera blind spot.
The main takeaway Skelton said he hopes viewers of the found heroin message got is that police are aware of the prevalence of drugs and they’re trying to address it.
“We are paying attention to the drug epidemic that’s out there,” he said. “We just want to ensure the community knows we are not turning a blind eye to drugs.”