Police selling unclaimed items to auction site
GREENFIELD — Bicycles, lawn statues, jewelry, shoes, hats, compact discs, and cameras are just a few of the unclaimed items police have sent to an online auctioneer to be sold to make the town a little money.
Lt. Daniel McCarthy said the department sends those types of items whenever it feels it has enough surplus items to make an auction worthwhile. He said many of the items are brought to police or collected during investigations.
McCarthy said the items for sale can be found at: www.propertyroom.com.
“We don’t do it that often,” said McCarthy. “It’s when we have a lot of unclaimed property sitting around and it’s obvious no one is coming to claim it that we send them off to be sold.”
McCarthy said, for instance, in 2010 Greenfield police received a box filled with women’s and men’s shoes. He said someone called to say they were delivered to his home and he had no idea why.
The department’s provisional lieutenant said an investigation revealed that the shoes were the result of a credit card scam.
“The company didn’t want them back and the investigation went nowhere, so we ended up with shoes,” said McCarthy.
He said other items have been confiscated during investigations into home and car break-ins.
“We would try to find the owners, but sometimes it was impossible or no one ever came forward to claim the items,” he said.
McCarthy said the department started using an online company to sell such items in or around 2006.
“We don’t have the resources to try and sell the items ourselves,” he said. “So, propertyroom.com takes a percentage of the sales and gives a percentage to the town.”
McCarthy said he has no idea how much the town makes from the online auction sales, but it isn’t a lot.
Marjorie Lane Kelly, the town’s finance director, said proceeds from the sale will go into a special fund, from which police can use the money for supplies, advertising or other inexpensive items they need.
Kelly said there is currently $3,500 in the account. She said the current online sale is expected to bring in less than $5,000, like all of the sales before it.
She said if it brought in $5,000 or more, police would be required by law to put the online sale out to bid.
McCarthy said the most recent items sent to the company to auction off were collected by police in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
“We do hold onto items for a while,” said McCarthy.