LAKE GEORGE - An unclaimed wad of cash found by a citizen and held by Warren County for about five years has disappeared, and county officials are now taking action to pay the citizen back.
County officials said that in 2004, Albert Perrone of Lake George found a wallet stuffed with $1,970 in cash, and he turned it into the county Sheriff's Department for the rightful owner to claim it.
Since that time, the county has lost track of it, and Perrone has been seeking to get the unclaimed money back.
This week, Warren County supervisors heard from Sheriff Bud York that the department's records, kept under a prior administration, indicate the cash was turned over to the county Treasurer's office in 2004 for safekeeping, but county Treasurer Frank O'Keefe said office this week they had no record of such a transaction.
York and Undersheriff Robert Swan confirmed that they could find locate no receipt for the transaction, which would have occurred under the previous Sheriff's Department administration.
County Treasurer Frank O'Keefe was insistent this week that it wasn't received by any of his office personnel.
"We didn't receive the funds, period," he said.
Undersheriff Robert Swan said that he or other law authorities were not going to speculate on the fate of the cash.
"We're not going to point fingers," he said.
County officials said the funds might have been mislaid when the sheriff's department moved into their new public safety headquarters, just months after the money had been turned over to authorities.
This week, in anticipation that the money will be returned soon, county supervisors approved language describing the foul-up to be inserted into a resolution passed in March that approved the repayment to Perrone of the $1,970 he found.
Attempts to reach Perrone this week were unsuccessful.
Swan recalled that Perrone found the wad of cash in a wallet - bearing no identification - behind Perrone's store, Old Tyme Photo Canada St. in Lake George, and he turned it over to the sheriff's department afterward.
Perrone then forgot about it, Swan said, but just a matter of months ago, he recalled turning it in and sought to get it back it since it hadn't been reclaimed.
Public property law provides for authorities returning money to the person finding it according to a waiting period depending on the amount found, Swan said.
He said that while up to $100 can be reclaimed in three months, larger amounts like $5,000 must be held at least a year.
Swan said that finding $1,970 was not historically unusual in Warren County, recalling that several thousands of dollars were found years ago in the bathroom of a convenience store, and tens of thousands of dollars were discovered decades ago in the aftermath of a plane crash.