Sunday, December 10, 2000

Auction yields trove of goods

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gene McElroy looked at the stack of bicycles he had just bought for $7 at the Cincinnati police auction.

        “My wife's going to kill me,” he said, grinning.

        The 69-year-old Price Hill man plans to try to fix the bikes that are salvageable and use the rest for parts. He gives the bikes away.

        Bikes — 180 of them — were the most plentiful item at the semi-annual police auction Saturday at the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center. But the approximately 400 people who showed up had a chance to bid on a lot of other things.

        People bought bags of T-shirts, boxes of toys, computer monitors, air conditioners, car radios and other assorted items. Almost all are unclaimed stolen items recovered by the police.

        Each auction generates $10,000 to $25,000 for the city's general fund, said Police Specialist Dennis Pohl, who works in the police property room.

        “Some people get great deals here,” he said. “Others pay more for things than what they're worth.”

        Terry Crawford, of Felicity, was thrilled when he opened the tool box he bought for $50. The box contained an assortment of tools, including two new saws and two circular saw blades.

        “There's probably $200 worth of tools in that box,” Mr. Crawford.

        “If I had known what was in that box, I'd have bought it,” said his friend, Jim Cummings, of Hamilton County's Miami Township.

        Mr. Crawford, who regularly attends the police auctions, said the most unusual item he ever saw up for bid was an artificial leg.

        Jack Black, of Westwood, bought a wheelchair Saturday for $5. He plans to give it to the mother of his friend, Kim Vaughn, of Delhi Township.

        “When she goes to flea markets and stuff, she gets real short of breath,” Ms. Vaughn said. “She'll definitely use it.”

        Although it's cold now, Estill Morrison was looking ahead to the dog days of summer. He bought an air conditioner for $60.

        “It's a good deal if it works,” said Mr. Morrison, of Riverside. “I'm taking a chance on it.”


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