Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
In 2013, 14,407 objects found their way out of their owners’ pockets and purses and into the WMATA lost and found system. Metro’s lost and found isn’t your ordinary elementary school bin of misplaced retainers and pencil cases—it includes items as mundane as umbrellas and as exotic as a set of sea life specimens and a taxidermied alligator head, and it takes a multistep process to get your stuff back. Riders report lost items online or by phone and are assigned a case number. If Metro finds an item that matches the description, the staff sends an email saying it’s “happy to inform you” the item has been recovered and instructing you to pick it up at the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station. Last year, Metro successfully returned 4,798 of these missing items to their owners. So next time you leave your wallet on the Metro, don’t fret. There’s a 33 percent chance you’ll get it back.