Auction features alleged drug dealers' stuff sold cheap
York County provided its own Black Friday shopping option, featuring a motley array of items large and small seized from alleged drug dealers.
The York County Drug Task Force held its biannual auction of seized property, hawking 55 cars and a bunch of electronics to the crowd of several hundred people who turned out to the Schaad Detective Agency on Friday morning.
York County District Attorney Tom Kearney, who hung around the event toward the back of the crowd, watching the auctioneers do their thing, said the money went to drug treatment initiatives and fund the task force, which is run by the district attorney's office. He said the state Attorney General's office had directed his office not to disclose the amount of money the auction raised.
He said the items seized have been ruled by the court to have been used in the commission of a crime, or have been bought by money gotten from committing a crime. The seizures are done on civil-law grounds, so the prosecutors don't have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed — just that it's more likely that it has than not, which means items can be taken from people who haven't been convicted of anything.
Kearney said he liked the irony of the proceeds from stuff the alleged drug dealers bought going back to stopping them.
Items: The cars went for a couple hundred to several thousand dollars each; the items, which ranged from a computer fan to an industrial mixer to a big-screen TV, went from $100 to several hundred dollars. Someone bought one of the more unusual items, a crossbow, for $250. In a weird twist of auction logic, an X-Box 360 sold for $20, but a bit later, an original X-Box, which came out several years earlier, went for $55.
The auction also featured some items from the sheriff's office, including a box truck that went for just under $6000 that the county had used to transport election machines.
Richard Miller, of York City, has been coming to these auctions since 1999. He's bought at least six cars over that time, he reckons, including the 2003 Mercedes Benz SUV he snagged for $3,900.
"For the most part, the cars have run great," he said, adding with a smile that the Benz was the only one he'd bought that day "so far."
The county holds these auctions every Black Friday and every Memorial Day.
Tracey Buikema, of Manchester, said having the event on Black Friday was a good move by the county.
"People are already in the mode of spending money," she said as the auctioneer, standing a little ways away, continued to rattle off a half-comprehensible series of Porky Pig-esque vocalizations containing increasingly higher dollar amounts. This was the first seized-property auction Buikema had been to; she'd come with a couple friends who wanted to get cheap cars, preferably with four-wheel drive.
They'd been successful, Buikema said. One of her friends had picked up an old Jeep for around $1,100. She hadn't come to buy anything, but given how cheap some of the cars were going for, she was beginning to have some second thoughts.
"You think: 'Wait, do I need one?'" she said.
— Reach Sean Cotter firstname.lastname@example.org.