Volunteer Colin McKenzie, 13, looks over lost and found items in the barn next to Ribfest in Naperville.
Bev Horne | Staff Photographer
By the time Ribfest ends Sunday in Naperville, there will be more found items on the floor around the "Lost & Found Box" than actually in it.
"I do think they could get a bigger box," said security room coordinator Tony Perardi. "We always have stuff overflowing it."
With close to a million people filing through the gates throughout the four-day event, several hundred of those folks accidentally leave something behind. Much of it is nothing of note, but occasionally some fairly valuable items wind up in the box at Perardi's station in the park district barn along Martin Avenue.
"How do they not notice they're missing this stuff?" Perardi pondered.
Naperville Police Detective Mark English gathers most of the valuable items _ credit cards, wallets, purses and phones _ at the end of the night and takes them to the police station to be logged into property control.
"There's a lot of junk in there most nights," he said. "But I'm surprised by a lot of people who don't come back and get their stuff."
By early Friday afternoon there were four phones in the box and only one owner had bothered to call the lost phone to see who answered.
"I'm blown away that they have it," said Naperville resident Tim Walker. "I completely expected it to be lost. It was a wonderful surprise that's made my day."
By the time the park opened Thursday, it took less than two hours for the first found item to find its way to the box. A size large gray T-shirt was the sole occupant for about an hour before being joined by a Hyundai key, glasses, a cell phone with a pack of gum and a man's ring. The cell phone and ring were the first items to be claimed. The T-shirt is still in the box along with an array of other clothes and many or sets of keys and two driver's licenses.
"Most people think they're never going to see these things again and they may not know where to go looking for them," he said. "I take some of the more valuable stuff to the police station every day because it's easier to get there than Ribfest grounds."
English also said people routinely believe their valuables would be valuable to someone else, so that's why they don't go looking for them.
"I had a guy who lost a platinum ring in the petting zoo a couple years ago and he didn't call for a couple days and even when he did, he didn't think we'd have it, but we did," English said.
Perardi said the two dozen or so items waiting to be retrieved Friday afternoon were more than usual.
"It's a pretty big pile for this time of the event," he said. "It will get bigger."