Centralia Police Department to Sell Seized And Unclaimed Property Online


The Centralia Police Department will be taking to eBay to sell its seized and unclaimed property.

Centralia Police Chief Stacy Denham told the Centralia City Council at its Tuesday meeting that all property the department seizes for being involved in crimes, or found property that it somehow receives, are routinely sold by the department with the proceeds to then primarily go into the city’s general fund.

However, money made through the sale of property seized as part of drug-related offenses must be used on expenditures such as the prevention of future drug-related offenses in the city.

With these types of property going up for sale on eBay, Denham noted that city-purchased surplus property, on the other hand, will not be sold this way.

Centralia isn’t the first governmental body that has set up shop on eBay.

Other agencies that have turned to eBay to sell seized or unclaimed property include the states of Washington, Oregon and New York as well as multiple other governmental bodies across the nation, Denham said.

The process will be simple and not time-consuming, he said, because the police department already has to catalog all seized or unclaimed property it receives. The eBay posts only take a few extra minutes of the department’s time per item.

Each item is photographed, researched on comparable sites for pricing, logged and uploaded to the department's eBay store, which is called “Maplestreet_Merchandise,” Denham said.

The city’s website at https://www.cityofcentralia.com/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=14 has a direct link to Maplestreet_Merchaidse.

Instead of brick-and-mortar auction houses that can use less than transparent means to hawk the goods — often levying fees for the sale of the merchandise — the new process provides a more “transparent” means to sell the goods and is “fair to all who bid,” due to eBay’s policies, Denham said.

He added that eBay ensures an “unbiased” marketplace.

Other auction sites the department has tried to use in the past have caused the department to lose items, leaving them unsold or allegedly destroyed, according to the presentation.

Denham said the previously-used auction sites were difficult to work with and had no true accountability to their processes. The use of eBay will fix these issues, he said. 

The sale of seized motor vehicles and firearms will still be handled in the way the department has in the past.

According to Denham’s presentation, the department is “currently using a previously approved process that (has) been very successful with disposing of seized vehicles using Community First Auto Center (CFAC), which we have had great success with.”

Firearms will continue to be sold to an agreed upon “specialized dealer,” he said.