Log on to purchase unclaimed evidence
Holly Taylor, an investigations secretary and evidence clerk with the Plumas County Sheriff’s Department, points out some of the items that are destined for sale on propertyroom.com. Photo by Debra Moore
From jewelry to chainsaws — the Plumas County Sheriff’s Department regularly sells an array of items on propertyroom.com.
When unclaimed evidence and asset forfeiture property overwhelm the department’s small storage room, Holly Taylor calls propertyroom.com for pickup.
Taylor, the sheriff’s evidence clerk, catalogs and tracks each item as it’s collected.
“Jewelry, suitcases, clothes, electronics, bicycles …” Taylor ticks off some of the usual items that she sends off in the truck that arrives monthly.
Assets that are collected during the commission of a crime remain in the evidence room until the case is adjudicated.
“Crime-related items are not returned,” she said. “We try to take away the tools that are used.”
When items can be released, the owner is notified and has 60 days to claim them.
“Burglaries are horrible,” Taylor said. “We will find so much stuff and we don’t always know who it belongs to.”
She said the situation is complicated by the fact that sometimes people aren’t even aware that something has been taken from their home or vehicle.
But sometimes she’s surprised that people don’t report missing items.
“A lot of times we had as many as 100 bikes out back,” she said.
Her supervisor, Steve Peay, said that even after placing a notice in the newspaper and asking anyone who lost a bike to check at the sheriff’s department, no one claimed a bike. They get shipped to propertyroom.com.
The department receives 12.5 percent of the sale, which doesn’t add a lot of money to the coffers, but it doesn’t cost the department to try to sell or dispose of the items.
“The truck comes and picks up all of the items,” Taylor said. “What doesn’t sell is disposed of for us.”
Roni Towery, the sheriff’s finance officer, said the number fluctuates, but it averages about $1,500 a year.
While propertyroom.com will take vehicles, the department chooses to auction them in Sacramento instead.
But car parts do go to the online agent.
“We send the back seats of patrol vehicles to be sold,” Assistant Sheriff Dean Canalia said.
When a new vehicle is purchased, Sierra Electronics installs radios and cages, and replaces the standard back seats.
“Anything we can unbolt and sell, we do,” Canalia said. “They come and get it and send us a check.”
Law enforcement agencies across the nation use the website to sell a host of confiscated assets and unclaimed evidence.
Visit propertyroom.com and see a wide array of merchandise that is arranged by categories for easy shopping.
Peay said that sometimes entire warehouses of items will be seized and then sold through the website. Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, sports equipment, computers, fine art, collectibles, coins, vehicles and much more can be found on the site.
Taylor said her next shipment would include a tent and chainsaw, along with a host of other items.