Loveland police go above and beyond to identify owner, return lost home movies

Real detective work required
Posted at 6:12 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 22:02:58-04

LOVELAND, Ohio – It’s not unusual for police to find lost kids and return them to their homes. Lost home movies? Not so much.

But two Loveland police officers recently went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure some family keepsakes got back where they belong.

Detective Steve Moster and Officer Tim Wilmes have been working in law enforcement for a combined half century. They’ve never done anything like this.

It started with old videotapes that had made their way to the police department property room. In 2012, Moster took on the job of managing stolen property.

"Amongst all the evidence and property was a camera bag with an obsolete camera and about four or five 8mm cassette tapes," he said,

They were home movies from the late 90s labeled "Wrestling" and "Christmas." By law, he could have destroyed them five years ago, but something inside told him to hold on to them.

"I wanted to see if we could identify who was on the tapes, but it's just one of those things we never get the time to do," Moster said.

Then recently,  Moster worked with the FBI converting old files for another case to digital. He asked if the agent could help him with the home movies, too. From there, the real detective work – finding the rightful owners -- began.

 Moster and Wilmes watched the videos several times.

"You're looking for a needle in a haystack," Wilmes said.

“At some point in the video, the son starts being the cameraman and he shows his father on film.

"At that point, Tim and I both said, ‘That's the guy's name,'" Moster said.

He was a retired Loveland business owner.

There was still one small problem. He had moved out of town and he was temporarily unable to drive due to an injury.  So Moster and Wilmes took the videos to him.

"It's pretty good. I didn't think we'd be able to do it, but it was really satisfying," Wilmes said.

"We try and do right by our residents and people that visit. We're just average people doing a job," said Moster.

Moster retires from the department next week. He'll take those memories with him.

You can post a comment on the story on the Loveland police Facebook page.