Maryland, meet Comptroller Peter Franchot's newest gimmick to convince you to collect more than $980 million in unclaimed property: Sherlock Franchot.
This year's tongue-in-cheek campaign features Franchot as the beloved British detective Sherlock Holmes, complete with a calabash pipe, deerstalker hat and an "elementary" catch phrase.
The campaign to reunite residents with lost property, waged every year, comes with a 151-page tabloid put in local newspapers that lists the tens of thousands of people whose lost cash and property ends up in the hands of the state of Maryland.
It also comes with a spoof YouTube video that opens with a deep movie-trailer voice.
"Sherlock Franchot. Your lost property and he are bound together on a journey that will twist the very fabric of your finances," it says.
Last year, Franchot transformed into "The Most Interesting Man in Maryland," riffing off the popular Dos Equis Beer commercials that became an Internet meme. In past years, he's adopted the persona of Indiana Jones.
Residents can search for unclaimed property held in their name by visiting marylandtaxes.com. More than $56 million in claims were made during the last fiscal year, which ended in June 2013.
Or, as Sherlock Franchot explains, "I wanted to change the world, but I'll settle for helping you get back your money. … It's elementary, my dear Marylanders."
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