How to Buy All That Stuff the Police Seize. And It's Cheap.

By Paul Michael on 29 December 2007 (Updated 28 June 2013) 6 comments

Ever wondered what happens to all that stuff the good folks of law enforcement have stashed away? You know, anything from car stereos to bags of diamond necklaces, watches and gold rings. Well, when it's no longer required as evidence several things can happen to it. If the police can find the original owners, they'll get it back. If they can't, they'll often sell it off at auctions. And I've just found a terrific site that lets you bid on all sorts of great stuff like this at silly prices. (See also: How to Buy Like a Pro at Country Auctions)

The site is called PropertyRoom.com and it's a veritable goldmine of cool gear. It works in the same way as eBay, except most of the items come directly from law enforcement agencies. From the site:

The vast majority of items auctioned by PropertyRoom.com derive from law enforcement agencies and other public municipalities. With few exceptions, we physically pick-up the goods and transport them into our facilities. We then inspect the goods and make them ready for auction. Lastly, we tightly control the listing content, auction process and fulfillment of each item.

The types of items you can buy vary just like any other auction site, but the main categories are just as you'd expect:

  • Apparel
  • Automotive
  • Bicycles
  • Buy Now Deals
  • Coins & Currency
  • Computer
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Photography
  • Real Estate
  • Tools
  • Watches
  • Everything Else

However, my personal favorite is the 1-Hour Quick Wins section. This is constantly updated with new stuff, and the auction is only up for one hour. We recently got pipped to the post by someone for a sapphire ring, retail value $399 — it went for just over $50. There are tools, watches, iPods, laptops, well, you name it and it appears in the quick wins section, as well as on the rest of the site. Sure, it's all used but at these prices who cares?!

Former law enforecment cars

PropertyRoom.com also gives you the chance to buy ex-police cars at a fraction of the price you'd pay at a dealership. Remember, the mileage on these cars is very high for the age of the vehicle, but don't let that fool you. A '99 Crown Victoria with 200,000 miles may have done some serious driving but it's also been given some incredible maintenance. These cars have to be in A1 condition all the time, and $800-$1000 on one of these beauties is well worth it.

See something that's yours? Steal it back!

Another fabulous feature of this site is its promise to help victims of crime, namely by making sure that if you see something that was yours, you can get it back free. It's called the Steal It Back Registry.

Largest Stolen Property Repository

PropertyRoom.com is the leading Internet Auction Services Company serving law enforcement in the United States. In addition to our auction site at www.propertyroom.com, we maintain the only nationwide registry available to the general public for recovering lost or stolen goods, and it is absolutely FREE.

Get Your Stolen Property Back

We record the serial number of each item that we receive and check these numbers against your Stolen Property Registry. If there is a match, we will contact you and return the item. Using this service, you can register information about property that has been stolen from you. You may also register the serial numbers of items you currently own in case they should ever be lost or stolen.

I've found myself glued to this site for at least an hour each time I visit. It's a bargain-hunter's paradise, and a fun way to get hold of some very nice stuff at a fraction of the price you may even find it on eBay. As this site is virtually unknown, you're not competing with the millions of eBayers around the world. Best of all, you're helping out the law in the process. Makes you feel good to be a concerned citizen, right?

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Linsey Knerl's picture

I've been a PropertyRoom lurker for years.  I've bid but never won anything yet.  Great article!

Guest's picture
Neal

Thanks for the note on this web site. Beware, though, that all the merchandise offered is not law enforcement stolen or unclaimed stuff. It looks to me like there is also a bunch of discontinued or open box items from various vendors.

Paul Michael's picture

There are some items here from vendors, but they don't make up the bulk of the site and it's still really cheap.

Guest's picture
NVMojo

thanks for posting!

Guest's picture
Guest

They've got a grow light going for a dollar. hhhmmm...

Guest's picture
Guest

Yeah, I've wondered abotu those...

Do the cops know who has bought what? Maybe I'll have the grow lights shipped to my grandmother's house... :)