Local law enforcement agencies use auction website - KPTV - FOX 12

Local law enforcement agencies use auction website

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More and more law enforcement agencies are turning to the internet to sell items seized from criminals. They're stolen belongings that the rightful owners never claimed.

It's called propertyroom.com, and  some of the largest agencies in the area use it, including the Beaverton, Tigard, Gresham and Vancouver police departments.

"We like to say that propertyroom offers everyday treasures and treasures every day," said PJ Bellomo, the company's chief executive officer. "We get those from police departments all over the United States."

Bellomo said the Maryland-based site features about 3,000 items at any given time.

Most are everyday things, but some are downright odd.

"We got a coffin and I'm like, ‘Who steals a coffin?' Like what an oddball thing to get," Bellomo said.

Propertyroom.com representatives pick up the items and bring them to one of seven warehouses - the closest to Portland is Seattle. That's where they are catalogued and verified - if necessary. Every bid starts at just $1.

Bellomo said the company shares the profit with its 2,500 clients.

"We distributed more than $50 million to communities all over the United States," Bellomo said.

Propertyroom.com is a private company that doesn't disclose how much it makes from the process, but it claims to make more profit for law enforcement agencies than those agencies would make on their own - because the products get bids from 1.5 million registered users.

Several local law enforcement agencies told Fox 12 they didn't have specific numbers about how much profit they have made by using the site, but they said that auctions can be time-consuming and expensive if they have to conduct them.

If shoppers recognize an item stolen from their house on the site - and they can verify the ownership -  the company said it will return it free of charge.

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