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MERCER COUNTY State is on lookout for those owed unclaimed property

By Harold Gwin

Friday, July 6, 2001

The Hermitage man's name turned up on a list of people the state is seeking so it can return their money or other property.
MERCER, Pa. -- James A. Rollinson of Hermitage said he had no idea the state's Unclaimed Property Bureau was holding nearly $5,500 of his money.
He plans to get it back, and Pennsylvania Treasurer Barbara Hafer said her office is only too happy to oblige.
The bureau, which is part of her office, is holding money and personal property of scores of Mercer County residents -- and they will have an opportunity to get it back next week at the Mercer County Grange Fair.
Bureau representatives will be at the fairgrounds off state Route 58 just east of Mercer from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
They will use computers to determine on the spot if visitors have unclaimed property being held by the state.
Discovery: Rollinson will be one of those in line.
Hafer provided a short list of some of the Mercer County residents the bureau is looking for, and Rollinson's name was on it.
"That's a bit of wonderful news," Rollinson said after The Vindicator contacted him about the list.
Hafer said that one in every 14 Pennsylvanians has a claim on some of the $602 million on the unclaimed property books; the average claim is about $1,000.
Sources: The property comes from businesses that are required to turn over to the state assets that have been abandoned for seven years. That could include old bank accounts, stocks or dividends, uncashed payroll or accounts payable checks, uncollected utility deposits and even the contents of safe deposit boxes.
The money owed Rollinson comes from a long time ago.
The list shows his last-known address as 63 Taylor Ave., Sharon, but Rollinson said he hasn't lived there for 40 years.
He moved there shortly after his Hermitage farm was sold but stayed only a couple of years before moving back to Hermitage, he said, adding that he doesn't know where the money came from.
He intends to find out, saying he will visit the Grange Fair next week to speak with bureau representatives.
"Five thousand dollars is well worth inquiring about," he said.
Hafer said treasury representatives frequently journey to events like the fair to find people who don't know they have property coming to them.
"Our outreach program has been very successful in helping us return unclaimed property to its rightful owners," Hafer said.
Other Mercer County residents on her short list, including their last-known addresses as well as the money owed them, are: Michael Halliday of 273 Main St., Greenville, $10,259; Linda Grove of 684 Prindle St., Sharon, $4,472; and Judy Crum of 991 N. Water Ave., Hermitage, $2,250.