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Police Auctions

Old 09-16-20, 07:13 AM
  #1  
John Foster
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Police Auctions

Has anyone ever had any good finds at police auctions? I have only been to a couple, mostly mangled big box store bikes. I expect the good bikes get claimed by the owners who are more serious about looking for them..
There is an upcoming online auction in our area, I can't believe how many lots with bolt cutters and wrecking bars there are! Isn't this just encouraging trouble?
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Old 09-16-20, 07:35 AM
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I used to attend local police auctions and bought several bikes there over the years. There was a problem though that you were unable to measure the frame size so I sometimes got bikes that were too big and one time bought a bike with a bent frame. It wasn't something I was looking for and couldn't see it from the distance we were allowed to look at things. These were done in person and not online. The junky bikes with a familiar name (Schwinn) and mass merchandiser bikes often sold for near the new price as people bid up the price in competition while the bikes most people did not know went for reasonable prices. I was often the only person bidding on them. That's all changed since auctions went online. Now you have a lot more people looking at the bike but you still have the same problem about fit.
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Old 09-16-20, 07:37 AM
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I used to have an "in" for the local police auction for our county YEARS ago. They actually did theirs in concert with a tow yard that would do a combo type auction. I never saw any manner of bicycles, I am not sure what they did with those. Loads of cars, trucks, moto, even boats and a plane once.
A buddy of mine bought an RX7 (1st gen) from one. Beautiful little car. He had another with a ground effects kit on it but in worse shape. As he tears the bumper off the "new" auction car he discovered several pounds of old dried up marijuana. Called the police back, the car was disassembled in keys areas while supervised and quite a bit of pot was found in it. How it wasn't before we don't know. Turned out to be a really good car though...
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Old 09-16-20, 07:42 AM
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the cops pick over the good stuff (cars motos bikes) before they go to auction
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Old 09-16-20, 08:52 AM
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Rideable bikes will generally keep being ridden. Bikes that wind up at the police auction have often been abused or pulled out of a river or otherwise ruined, as well as mostly being box-store bikes to begin with. Decent bikes in any sort of rideable or repairable condition are rare.
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Old 09-16-20, 08:59 AM
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When I worked as a dispatcher, it was amazing the number of abandoned bicycle calls we took. We had auctions once or twice a year, and there was always a ton of bikes, most of them picked up as abandoned, but they were the usual Walmart fare, Roadmaster, Schwinn, Mongoose, Next, etc. I doubt they ever recovered many high-end bikes, since if they were reported stolen it's more likely the owners would have the serial number and would come in to claim them if recovered. Few people cared to come in to claim a $100 Walmart bike, or even write down the serial number after buying it.
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Old 09-16-20, 09:02 AM
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I got my Miyata 1000 at a police auction for $50. They don't seem to do them here anymore, the city has their own online sales site and the starting prices are usually not that good.
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Old 09-16-20, 09:10 AM
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As a funny aside to this.
When I was a kid the county did this drive where you 'registered' your bike with the police dept and a sticker was put on the frame such that if it were stolen (these type of crimes were high at the time) the lockup where this stuff went to could contact you. The issue being there was never enough man power available, I assume, to do this. I collected my bike from there once and there were LOADS of other bikes with that same sticker on them just sitting.
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Old 09-16-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
As a funny aside to this.
When I was a kid the county did this drive where you 'registered' your bike with the police dept and a sticker was put on the frame such that if it were stolen (these type of crimes were high at the time) the lockup where this stuff went to could contact you. The issue being there was never enough man power available, I assume, to do this. I collected my bike from there once and there were LOADS of other bikes with that same sticker on them just sitting.
The thing is that if you write down your serial number, and give that number to the police officer making the report after your bike is stolen, they will enter the serial number into NCIC and any agency across the country will be able to run the number and find that it was stolen. Provided, of course, the bike is recovered within a year because I think they get kicked out after that time.
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Old 09-16-20, 10:08 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
The junky bikes with a familiar name (Schwinn) and mass merchandiser bikes often sold for near the new price as people bid up the price in competition while the bikes most people did not know went for reasonable prices.
Orbea? Colnago? Bianchi? Never heard of 'em! PASS!!!
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Old 09-16-20, 10:38 AM
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Best I got was some golf clubs a Nike Driver and 3Wood for like $80
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Old 09-16-20, 11:09 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
The thing is that if you write down your serial number, and give that number to the police officer making the report after your bike is stolen, they will enter the serial number into NCIC and any agency across the country will be able to run the number and find that it was stolen. Provided, of course, the bike is recovered within a year because I think they get kicked out after that time.
Seems like a much larger amount of effort than they'd care to spend.
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Old 09-16-20, 12:25 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Seems like a much larger amount of effort than they'd care to spend.
Not really, it's pretty easy. Anything that's stolen and has a serial number can be put into NCIC. It's a fairly quick & easy entry, I used to do it all the time. And checking serial numbers is even easier. Open the appropriate screen, type in the number, and send, then you get either a hit or a message saying no record found.
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Old 09-16-20, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
The thing is that if you write down your serial number, and give that number to the police officer making the report after your bike is stolen, they will enter the serial number into NCIC and any agency across the country will be able to run the number and find that it was stolen...
That might work with some police departments. A few years ago I had a friend whose car was stolen in Washington, DC. He reported it stolen, but after a few weeks with no sign of the car, his insurance paid off and he bought a new car with the insurance money. Three months later, he received a bill from the police department for storage fees for his stolen car. Turns out that the car had been abandoned and illegally parked the same day it was stolen, and the police impounded the car. The police department traced the car back to him through the license tag to send him the bill. The car arrived in the police impounding lot just a few hours after it was stolen, but the police never notified him they had located his stolen car. They just billed him for storage after they kept it for three months. They also ticketed him for a parking violation. Maybe the police do a better job tracking down stolen bikes than they do for cars.
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Old 09-17-20, 07:16 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
That might work with some police departments. A few years ago I had a friend whose car was stolen in Washington, DC. He reported it stolen, but after a few weeks with no sign of the car, his insurance paid off and he bought a new car with the insurance money. Three months later, he received a bill from the police department for storage fees for his stolen car. Turns out that the car had been abandoned and illegally parked the same day it was stolen, and the police impounded the car. The police department traced the car back to him through the license tag to send him the bill. The car arrived in the police impounding lot just a few hours after it was stolen, but the police never notified him they had located his stolen car. They just billed him for storage after they kept it for three months. They also ticketed him for a parking violation. Maybe the police do a better job tracking down stolen bikes than they do for cars.
Well, that was a stupid mistake on the part of that police department, obviously. But how it's supposed to work is, you buy a bike, you write down the serial #, someone steals the bike, you file a stolen bicycle report and give the police the serial #, then someone enters the bike into NCIC with the serial #, some other officer finds the bike, runs the number, and it comes back with a "hit" showing that it was stolen. Bike gets recovered, owner gets notified, bike gets returned. But of course that's how things work in a perfect world, and this isn't a perfect world.
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Old 09-17-20, 07:24 AM
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Reminds me of how we used to get parking tickets from the city of Chicago for all kinds of weird infractions such as parking in a loading zone, parking by fire hydrants, parking in the Loop, etc, etc... No amount of explanation from us would satisfy them and they were ramping up the penalties we would have to pay and threatening to have our car impounded (all the way from the suburbs!) if we didn't pay. We continued to fight the issue and eventually a date was set for a hearing with a judge and I had to go downtown and plead my case, The presented me with a stack of tickets six inches high and upon one look it was obvious they had the license plate number right but it was for a car with that same number with MARYLAND plates. Any idiot could see they were harassing the wrong guy.

Case dismissed.
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Old 09-17-20, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
I used to have an "in" for the local police auction for our county YEARS ago. They actually did theirs in concert with a tow yard that would do a combo type auction. I never saw any manner of bicycles, I am not sure what they did with those. Loads of cars, trucks, moto, even boats and a plane once.
A buddy of mine bought an RX7 (1st gen) from one. Beautiful little car. He had another with a ground effects kit on it but in worse shape. As he tears the bumper off the "new" auction car he discovered several pounds of old dried up marijuana. Called the police back, the car was disassembled in keys areas while supervised and quite a bit of pot was found in it. How it wasn't before we don't know. Turned out to be a really good car though...
“Hello, Officer, I’ve discovered that the automobile I bought from your auction contained 5 pounds, er... no, sorry, I mean FOUR pounds of marijuana!”
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Old 09-17-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Charliekeet View Post
“Hello, Officer, I’ve discovered that the automobile I bought from your auction contained 5 pounds, er... no, sorry, I mean FOUR pounds of marijuana!”
"You know what? On second thought, never mind!"
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Old 09-17-20, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Charliekeet View Post
“Hello, Officer, I’ve discovered that the automobile I bought from your auction contained 5 pounds, er... no, sorry, I mean FOUR pounds of marijuana!”
Unfortunately for everyone involved this was only illegal in reference to it's actually physically have BEEN marijuana at one point in it's existence. At this point you could have tried all of it and had a headache and perhaps mold issues.
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Old 09-18-20, 05:25 AM
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I got a wonderful Schwinn Paramount, the older kind made by Waterford, and it came complete with its original Campy Record components. The minimum bid on single bikes was $60, and no one else bid. There were only a couple bidders, there were about 100 bikes, and they were usually sold in lots of 10 or more. As far as I know, they ended up being piled into shipping containers and sent to Asia to be scrapped or whatever.
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Old 09-18-20, 07:47 AM
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I got a Bianchi, Trek, Gary Fisher, Giant bicycles from the local sheriff sale. All where low level model MTB. All needed to be disassembled and rebuilt with new cables and some other parts. My kids had nice bikes.
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Old 09-18-20, 08:57 AM
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Some of the local colleges do bike auctions from all the bikes left by students at the end of the year. I thought about trying to get a few, fix them up, then sell them back to students the following fall.

But, it generally wasn't worth the time and effort to most likely lose money.

What I've found is that at auctions like that, people often end up over-paying for things because they get into the competition of the auction and think no matter what they pay, it's still a deal.
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Old 09-18-20, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
What I've found is that at auctions like that, people often end up over-paying for things because they get into the competition of the auction and think no matter what they pay, it's still a deal.
That's why ebay has ruined a lot of hobby markets.
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Old 09-18-20, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Some of the local colleges do bike auctions from all the bikes left by students at the end of the year.
College bikes are the worst. Exclusively outdoor stored, zero maintenance, none high end.
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