Police to auction abandoned vehicles

47 cars to go to highest bidder during outcry auction this Saturday

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010

People looking to buy a car in this cash-strapped economy will have the opportunity to get one at rock-bottom prices Saturday during the Juneau Police Department vehicle auction.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

There are 47 vehicles that will go the highest bidder during the outcry auction beginning at 10 a.m. at 9390 LaPerouse Ave. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and all those wishing to bid must have their own bidder number.

"Not very many of them go for more than $500 and $1,000 on the high end," JPD spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills said. "Sometimes people get them for $25."

The department used to just destroy vehicles that were left in the impound yard after a certain period of time, or those deemed to be abandoned on city streets.

"Then our law department said, 'No, you can't do that anymore,'" Brown-Mills said. "It took us about a year to figure out what the process was going to be for notifying people and selling them and all of that. At that point we had over 100 cars that were piled up."

The department conducted several auctions during the past year to get rid of most of those abandoned vehicles.

"This will be the last (auction) of that big batch of cars to get rid of," she said. "We will probably be holding an auction three or four times a year after this."

State law requires anyone that is arrested for driving while intoxicated or cited for driving without a license to have the vehicle involved impounded for 72 hours. Sometimes the owners never go to pick up their vehicles, Brown-Mills said.

"At least those cars we know were operating when we impounded them," she said. "And then there are the abandoned vehicles. So those ones we often don't have keys to. The (vehicles) are in poorer condition, I guess."

None of the vehicles are going to be in great condition, Brown-Mills said, because glamorous vehicles aren't usually seized from criminals. Others are department surplus vehicles, she said.

It is kind of a gamble if the vehicles run or not and many are fixer uppers or parts cars, Brown-Mills said.

"Believe it or not, most of the time all the cars sell," she said.

All items must be paid for right after the sale of the vehicle. The city accepts cash, a certified check, a cashier's check or a personal check with sufficient identification.

The winning bidders will receive the proper paperwork to obtain the title and registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles. All vehicles must be removed from the area by 4 p.m. Saturday. There will likely be a tow truck available at a reasonable price for vehicles without keys or that don't operate properly, Brown-Mills said.

The previous auctions have all been pretty successful, she said.

"I am always surprised at how well they are attended," Brown-Mills said.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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