From eyeglasses to baby strollers, books, and mobile phones filled with photographs, hundreds of personal belongings were left behind at the scene of last week’s deadly Marathon bombings, as spectators and runners fled the chaos.
Now, the Boston Police Department is beginning to return the abandoned items to their owners.
After assessing and cataloging the recovered possessions, investigators have brought many of the items to Boston police headquarters.
Officers are contacting the owners, many of whom were in the immediate vicinity of the explosions, and often delivering items personally.
Boston police Sergeant Detective Bill Doogan, who is heading up the effort, said the FBI has processed a growing number of items from the scene, but is holding on to some items, such as mobile phones, that could be useful in the investigation.
“There’s a lot still in evidence,” he said.
While property such as purses and wallets typically contain contact information, other items released by the FBI will be more difficult to match up with their owners.
Those who left belongings at the scene can e-mail police at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500, or visit the Police Department headquarters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday.
Parking is available in front of police headquarters, and community service officers will be on hand to assist. If missing items are not at the police station, officers will take lost property reports.
For those outside Greater Boston, officers here will coordinate with local police to return property. Doogan said friends and family have also been able to pick up items on behalf of loved ones who live out of state and have returned home.
The department has received a few dozen inquiries from people searching for items, officials said.
On Tuesday, Mike Kincade visited police headquarters to see if his glasses, phone, jacket, and gloves had made it there.
Kincade had watched the race with friends from the patio of the Charlesmark Hotel on Boylston Street and lost his belongings in the chaos.
“I thought it was a cannon at first,” he recalled of the explosions. “Then I saw all the smoke.”
He came away empty-handed Tuesday: His belongings have not yet been released by the FBI.
Annie Chamberlin of Milton also came to headquarters to recover her pocketbook, which police had neatly tucked into a paper bag.
There was nothing special inside, she said, but it was good to have it back.
“Just things,” she said.
Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com.