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No, a police auction is not where you go to buy a policeman. Most people do not realize that police agencies, including local police departments, county sheriff departments, as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies end up with a lot of confiscated, lost, or abandoned property. This property ends up in the agency's possession as the result of arrests, forfeitures, and just plain carelessness on the part of the property owner who sets a camera down in some public place and walks away.
Once the agency has accumulated enough property they will hold a police impound auction. The purpose of the police impound auction is two-fold. First, they want to empty out their property rooms which, in the case of some state and federal agencies, may be the size of a warehouse. Second, they want to turn this unclaimed or forfeited property into cash. This cash usually goes back into the agency's budget, but it is sometimes earmarked for the particular government's "general fund". No matter where the money ends up, police auctions are usually a big money raiser for larger departments.
Items that fall under this category are usually the creme de la creme of the police auctions industry. This is where you can find anything from motorcycles and cars, to boats, airplanes, and homes!
Forfeited property is generally the result of drug arrests where it was determined that the seized property was either used in the commission of drug-related crimes, or was purchased with money that was received as the result of a drug-related crime.
When you bid on this type of property at a police impound auction you are agreeing to accept the item "as is". You need to be aware that the term "as is" does not simple refer to blemishes or minor damage. If, for example, you buy property at auction, and that property has tax liens placed against it, you will be expected to clear those liens before you can take rightful ownership. The same holds true for mortgages or car loans.
You can find some real bargains at police auctions for this type of high-value merchandise but you need to perform your due diligence so you don't end up in red ink after the transaction.
You would be shocked at what kind of property that people either lose or simply walk away from. You would be equally shocked at how many honest people find that property and turn it into the police department. Ultimately, if no one claims the property, and the owner cannot be otherwise be located -- it ends up at a police auction where it is sold to the highest bidder.
Most jurisdictions have specific laws, or ordinances, that deal with how the auction will be conducted. In almost every instance, the agency that is conducting the police impound auction is required to publish a full description of the items that will be auctioned as well as the date, time, and location of the auction. they will also publish payment terms which may be cash, money order, certified check, or any other payment method that they choose to accept. They will usually also publish additional terms such as how long you have to remove the property form the auction site once you win the bid, plus any legal disclaimers that the lawyers think need to be mentioned. This publication is normally placed in at least one major newspaper that serves the area with in the law enforcement agency's jurisdiction.
The purpose of this publication is first: to notify the owner of the property that they have one last chance to redeem it before it is sold at auction, and second: to generate publicity for the police auction so that it will be well attended.
Depending upon the size of the agency, and the agency's experience conducting auctions, a police auction will either be run by the police department itself, another government agency that is responsible for fiscal matters, or an outside auction company.
The police auction might be held on the steps of the County Courthouse, a room inside of some government office, or a public arena. The location of the police auction depends a lot upon the size of the agency and how much property is being auctioned off.
Some police auctions require that you register as a bidder in advance, while others let everyone and anyone show up at the day of the auction. Bidders are usually allotted time to inspect the goods before the actual police auction begins. You should take advantage of this time because it is a very bad idea to bid on anything that you haven't had time to inspect.
Once the auction starts, you simply bid on the items that you want. Have a budget in mind and don't bid more than you're willing to pay. It's easy to get caught up in the bidding frenzy and end up paying far more than you intended to.
Police auctions can be fun and profitable. Especially police auto auctions. Watch your local papers for announcements, or contact the law enforcement agencies in your area and find out when they are running the next police auctions.
Some of the more common auction items include:
used autos • marine vehicles • jet skis • aircrafts • homes • real estate • commercial property • farm equipment • industrial • business • electronics • computers • antiques • art • coins • stamps • appliances • guns • travel • collectibles • clothing • crafts • boats • bikes • motorcycles • mobile homes • jewelry • toys • cars • trucks • mopeds • bicycles • cameras • televisions • clocks • furniture • unclaimed property • abandoned property • personal property • office furniture • condominiums • town homes • commercial property • vacant land • single family homes • machinery • tools • hardware • building supplies
and much, much more...
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