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Inside BART's lost-and-found: Porn, prosthetics, and pot 

Wednesday, Sep 16 2009
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A recent San Francisco Examiner article about BART's lost-and-found policy somehow managed to avoid asking the massive, throbbing question one simply must ask of the person charged with rummaging through the detritus mistakenly left on trains. Namely — what's the weirdest stuff you find?

So we asked it instead. We were expecting amazing answers. We were not disappointed.

Nicole McCamish is BART's transportation administrative specialist — though her job title until recently was the far more user-friendly "lost-and-found clerk." When asked to name some of the more outlandish items that have come through her office, she started off, naturally, recalling the time a rider left his leg on the train.

Sadly, we'll never know what scenario led to a man exiting a train sans his prosthetic limb, as he never hopped over to the lost-and-found to claim it.

Fake body parts are more common than you'd think. McCamish often gets gold teeth and dentures. And yes, people do leave plenty of porno magazines and videos on the train. They pick them up, too. This is a somewhat awkward proposition, as riders must leave comprehensive phone messages or fill out online reports meticulously detailing their lost items. Attention to detail counts: There's no describing how crushing it can be to blithely believe that someone has found your precious DVD of Edward Penishands, only to find a copy of Edward Penishands II waiting in McCamish's office.

Speaking of crushing, people do forget bags of sadistic sex toys on BART. McCamish recalls a passenger who left behind some manner of swing device and "some whips and stuff" coming in to pick them up. Discreetly, of course.

Do people call up and attempt to recover backpacks full of drugs? You bet they do. When they hear that their bag "is now in the possession of the BART police," however, they tend to take the hint.

Passports; wallets stuffed with $1,400; wedding rings; typewriters; wheelchairs; and a four-man tent — McCamish has seen them all. Unfortunately, she hasn't seen this reporter's black baseball cap adorned with a Croix de Candlestick pin from 1990, which was left on an airport train the day the Examiner ran its story, eerily enough. It was a nasty and dirty old thing — but, apparently, not nearly as much so as the items McCamish regularly deals with.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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