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Unfortunately, yes. There is no law that states an officer has to release any property seized during an arrest to anyone else. The fact that they often do doesn't mean they must. Anything within the person's reach area or that they are transporting could be seized as a part of the arrest.
No, it doesn't make a difference. It's pretty normal for an officer to seize backpacks, purses, etc. when making an arrest. The reality is that they do it so they can dig through it at the jail and then if they find something illegal they charge him with that as well. I don't agree with it, but the judges allow it under an "inventory search" exception to the requirement of a warrant.