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Site offers seized police property for sale

September 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Are you looking for a deal on a watch or jewelry? A bicycle or some tools? Have you considered buying stolen property? No joke: one website deals in stolen goods legally.

The garage at Steve DeMott's home in West Covina is full of stolen goods. But DeMott owns everything with the blessing of the police department. That's because he bought the goods legally from a website called PropertyRoom.com.

"We get things probably average 30 to 50 percent off of new, or even used. "The competition isn't very bad. So until it really catches on, we're going to keep using the PropertyRoom," said DeMott.

PropertyRoom.com is an online auction site that sells unclaimed merchandise collected from police stolen property rooms.

Santa Ana Police Commander Jim Schnabl says that makes their life a lot easier because there are so many items to deal with.

"There is a tremendous amount of stuff that comes through our property room to start with. We deal with about 1,400 different pieces of evidence every month," said Schnabl.

So what kind of stuff goes from police evidence rooms to PropertyRoom's website?

P.J. Bellomo is PropertyRoom's chief executive officer, which is located at a warehouse in Industry.

"Our founder, a former cop, said 'Hey, this ought to be done on the Internet.' He figured that out 10 years ago," said Bellomo. "We've now got 2,000 departments. We go pick up the goods, bring it back, take a look at them, up they go for auction on PropertyRoom, open to the public for bidding."

Some of the seized items include an Joe Namath autographed football, an autographed guitar from Melissa Etheridge, iPads, and a high-end Breitling watch that someone added 36 carats of diamonds to. It's worth about $20,000.

Items for sale should be considered used and sold as is. But high-end items, especially jewelry and watches, are checked to make sure they're not fake.

Counterfeit items are eliminated.

A large part of the proceeds from the sale of an item goes back to the police department's city.

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