Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2018

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Vegas Strong Resiliency Center’s opening marks new stage in recovery of lost items


Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Investigators work at the festival grounds across the Strip from Mandalay Bay on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, after a gunman opened fire Sunday on a country music concert, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500.

For those who left personal items behind when they fled the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, time is running out to retrieve those belongings at the Family Assistance Center.

Any mass-produced items with no personally identifying characteristics, such as shoes, hats, lawn chairs and charging cables, will begin to be disposed after the Family Assistance Center in the Las Vegas Convention Center closes at 7 p.m. Friday, according to the FBI’s Victim Services Division.

The FBI and its partners are working to return other items that can be identified as belonging to a specific person. Agents are contacting those individuals to determine the best method for their return.

“We understand that some of these items may be very important to you, and we are working diligently to catalog and identify all items collected,” the FBI said in a statement. “Due to the large volume of items left behind, this process could take many months."

Items that are potentially identifiable but aren’t immediately connected to a specific individual will be sorted, catalogued and photographed. Once the process of logging the items is complete, the FBI will provide information regarding how individuals can view the items to identify and claim them.

When the Family Assistance Center closes, property recovery services can be accessed online through the questionnaire located on the FBI’s Victim Assistance Services Division’s website.

Those seeking to retrieve their items are asked to provide their contact information and a detailed description of the lost belongings. People can also email inquiries to the FBI’s Victim Services Division at [email protected] Photos of items sought can be attached to the emails.

Since Oct. 8 when personal effects first became available for retrieval, about 800 people have come to the Family Assistance Center to request personal effects left behind, a Clark County spokeswoman said. Belongings picked up have included cellphones, jewelry, wheelchairs and lawn chairs. The FBI has also received more than 2,000 online questionnaires regarding belongings lost at the concert.

On Monday, the operation will move to 1524 Pinto Lane, near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Alta Drive. The name of the center will be changed to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center. Personal items will not be located at the Resiliency Center.

“The initial focus of the Family Assistance Center was to provide immediate services to family members and friends of loved ones who died in the incident or were directly involved,” said Clark County Deputy Fire Chief John Steinbeck, who serves as Clark County’s emergency manager. “Now we are transitioning to a more permanent service model to help people connect with services they may need over time to help them build resilience and strength in the aftermath of this incident.”

The FBI and Metro Police continue their investigation into the mass shooting. They ask anyone who witnessed or has any knowledge about the shooting to submit a tip.

Any person who was injured in or witnessed the shooting could be eligible for certain services and rights, including special funding to provide emergency assistance, crime victims compensation and counseling. Additional information about these resources can be found by emailing [email protected]