Metro Transit Lost and Found helping connect riders with lost items

In the hustle and bustle of a commute, it’s easy to lose track of things.

Metro Transit rider Brielle Gara recently lost her iPhone 14. Ziyad Motala says he left his car keys on the bus last week.

But sometimes those things that are lost are found in an oversized closet in downtown Minneapolis.

"You never quite know what you're going to come across," John Stephens told FOX 9. Stephens is the "gatekeeper" at Metro Transit’s Lost and Found. "Some people, I believe when they lose something, they just assume it's gone – someone's taken it. And that does not always happen. There are good people in the world who will turn things in."

Thanks to Stephens, those things are much easier to find now.

He recently overhauled the entire system, started logging and categorizing each item, no matter how big or small, worthwhile or seemingly worthless.

"Our bus drivers are honest and will turn things in, like a 25 cent piece, or a pen. Whatever they find, they will turn in," says Stephens.

Just ask commuter Edoh Amegaste – he lost his remote car starter on a bus from Maple Grove to Minneapolis.

"Every morning I stay in the house and start my car… Yesterday I was sick, seriously. I was like, ‘where did I leave it?’ I searched. My wife, we searched everywhere we can’t find that. So I said, no, let me call them," says Amegaste.

The next day, he left the Metro Transit lost and found – remote car starter in a baggie, just the way he lost it.

"It took one minute to get my remote. I’m very proud, I’m very proud of our Metro Transit, because this would cost me $350, it’s a lot of money for a starter remote," says Amegaste.

Just like Amegaste’s starter, the vast majority of items show up here with no identifying information, which can require a little detective work by Stephens.

"Like the suitcase we have here today, might be from a homeless person. And so trying to find some bit of information. Sometimes you get lucky, and they have something from Sharing and Caring Hands or Mary's place or another shelter," says Stephens.

Of course, no lost and found story is complete without tales of the obscure. The Metro Transit Lost and Found can sometimes be an oddities tour.

"Hardware like the Toyota hubcap we have right now. Pool floaties, a vacuum, stools, artwork," explained Stephens. "I did get a call one time from the woman who lost her dentures, and she just took it out of her mouth and set it down and forgot about it. And the prosthetics."

From prosthetics to pennies, all the items in the lost and found stay there for 30 days.

If no one claims them, they’re donated, recycled or thrown away. But in the meantime, people can rest assured every single thing in the sea of now organized chaos is in good hands.

"It's nice to know that you're helping people when I'm doing this process," says Stephens. "Because in customer relations, we take a lot of complaints. We deal with a lot of people who are in a bad place at that moment. And that's again, nice that we're able to help them out. They've already known that they've lost it. So now I can help them be reunited."