It was a late January night, when Port Moody police received an unusual call.
A resident had found a suitcase. But there was no body, or any real evidence a crime had even been committed.
It contained more than 100 pounds of various frozen packaged meats with best before dates going back to 2004.
Rather than turf the turf, Port Moody police kept the suitcase in a department deep freeze in case someone decided to claim the meat as their own. The wayward suitcase became one of a room full of lost, stolen or recovered items held at the St. Johns Street station.
To the outside world, the discovery of a suitcase full of meat might be one of the more bizarre finds.
But a tour of the exhibit room at the police station quickly reveals a quirky, humorous - and in some cases downright scary - trove of items.
"In some ways the police department can be like a big lost and found," said Port Moody police spokesman Const. Luke Van Winkel.
"When people find things and they don't know what to do with them, they inevitably call the police."
And those items inevitably end up in the exhibit room - a bomb-shelter like space with concrete walls at the back of the station.
Inside, rows of wooden shelves hold the items - everything from numbered files in envelopes to zippered storage bags full of electronics.
In one section, a stack of laptops is collecting dust, and in another, full 40-pounders of vodka and cans of beer sit unopened from liquor seizures.
The room is filled with everything imaginable, and some items you couldn't even make up.
There's the giant fake skull and mummy recovered by police from a stolen vehicle.
And no police evidence room would be complete without a samurai sword.
"People do strange things," Van Winkel told The NOW during an exclusive tour of the room. "You'll find a guy walking around with a samurai sword just going for a walk because he thought it would be cool."
It clearly didn't impress police.
Everything that comes into police custody from a crime in Port Moody ends up in the room.
Van Winkel explained a full-time exhibit custodian is in charge of maintaining order in the room.
In the case of criminal evidence, a painstaking procedure is in place to make sure the items are properly controlled for an eventual court case.
The procedure for lost or recovered stuff, like the 100 pounds of meat, is handled in a similar way.
Officers have to make a note of where the property went and where they got it.
"At the end of the day, we're accountable for it once we've got it," Van Winkel said.
"If someone comes back and says 'Hey, my neighbour says he found a bike, it turns out it's mine, where is it?' if we can't account for it, it poses lots of problems."
In one case, the department recovered a stack of plywood worth thousands of dollars from a botched theft at a home. A few months later, the homeowner showed up at the station.
He had been away on vacation while his place was being renovated, only to come home to find the lumber missing.
The plywood was returned.
Though evidence for a court case could be stored for years, it's not the same for recovered property.
Many of the items in the room come by way of search warrants from theft and break-in investigations.
Van Winkel said the department tries its best to reunite the stolen goods with their rightful owner, often posting pictures on the department's website.
He noted the Internet has made the reunification process between owner and property a little easier.
But more often than not, the goods have either no tags or markings to trace back to the owner.
In one recent incident, the department went looking for the owners of a memory card filled with vacation pictures.
It was recovered from a search warrant related to property crimes back in November. With a bit of help from the media, the owner came forward and was reunited with the images.
However, if all attempts fail, within 90 days the property is either sent to a police auction if deemed usable, or destroyed.
Every few months, the custodian will round up all the items and take them to an incinerator in Burnaby.
Even with the turnover, the exhibit room is always full.
There is so much property, the department has an outside storage unit for the bigger items like bikes, an assortment of power tools and the deep freeze for, of course, 100 pounds of meat.
For police, all the piled-up property serves as a reminder to residents. Van Winkel urges people to engrave their property and make it identifiable in some way, or record the serial number.
"Even a low-end bicycle . it's shame to lose that because you didn't write down a serial number, you didn't engrave it in a way that worked to let you get your property back," he said.
Thus avoiding the fate of the suitcase full of meat.