If you’re an online bargain hunter, listen up. Craigslist and eBay aren’t the only games in town anymore. Now there are police auctions online, too! Of course, police departments have been holding local auctions for years to get rid of excess inventory. As well as items confiscated from drug dealers, thieves, and other assorted criminals. According to ABC News, it was mostly a money-losing proposition. Why? Because the top bidders were always the same 20 people from local pawn shops. So, former New York City police officer Tom Lane created a website that would link a large number of cities. It’s called PropertyRoom.com and they’ve made deals with more than 12-hundred municipalities, including Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle.
Website staffers pick up the items from the police departments. Then they sort, appraise, and auction them off. The website shares the proceeds with the city. Basically, anything that’s been seized or stolen, and is unclaimed, you can buy. Recently auctioned items include cars, diamond jewelry, and designer duds. Original oil paintings, signed sports memorabilia, and videogame consoles. As well as lawn mowers, sporting equipment, and musical instruments. Many of them sell for pennies on the dollar. Also, police departments don’t always know the value of what they’ve got, but since the website has items appraised, they often get more money than if the items were sold at a local auction.
For example, recently, a loose diamond was found in a bag of costume jewelry. It was appraised for $31,000 - which the lucky buyer got for $22,000. Another police department sent a bunch of tools wrapped up in a rug. The rug turned out to be Persian, and sold for $15,000. The website even auctions off used city equipment, including parking meters, fire trucks, and retired police cruisers. However, there are two things they won’t sell: guns and drug paraphernalia. If you’d like to check out the police auction website, it’s PropertyRoom.com.