Thousands of dollars of stolen and forfeited property that used to languish in Maryland police warehouses – from equipment used to grow marijuana to power generators -is being auctioned online to the highest bidder. The Baltimore Sun reports that jurisdictions across Maryland are joining about 1,300 others nationwide on PropertyRoom.com, an eBay-style auction house that specializes in selling seized contraband for local governments.
Before the emergence of online auctions, police departments held more traditional, in-person sales. Officers were often responsible for marketing the event or selling the goods, or hiring those duties out to an auctioneer. PropertyRoom.com has about 20,000 visitors daily. PropertyRoom.com, founded in 1999 by a former detective in the Long Beach (N.Y.) Police Department, typically takes in from 25 percent to 50 percent of the earnings from each sale. The company, based in Mission Viejo, Ca., expects to conduct about $25 million to $30 million in transactions this year.