Steals to be had at auction |

Steals to be had at auction

Checking out a bike up for auction, Lani Shaw holds her 15-month-old son Jack Sheridan in the PitCo Library courtyard Thursday morning May 27, 2004. The Aspen Police Department auctioned snowboards, bikes, jewelry, gloves and even a small lock and key bagging 1500 dollars in the take. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

A group of locals clamored around the table, picking out which of the scattering of other people’s belongings would soon be theirs.

An eager hand fondled a silver band; a gloomy teenager eyed a new skateboard. All the while, a team of police officers looked on, encouraging the group.

Last Saturday, in the interest of fund raising, the Aspen Police Department changed the rules for its annual “lost and found auction,” in which unclaimed possessions held by the police are made available to the public.

“We do everything we can to return a lost item to its owner. But if it’s not claimed, we can’t keep it forever. So we hold this auction,” Officer Michele McClinton said.

On sale Saturday was a host of possessions, ranging from the expensive (a Palm Pilot cell phone) to the mundane (a plastic car cover). Clothes, bikes, snowboards and jewelry made up the bulk of the sale.

There were steals to be had. Volunteer auctioneer Rob Walker started most items at $5, and often they didn’t sell for much higher. A Nokia cell phone sold for $5, as did a Casio watch. There was even the occasional jackpot. Last year, a local woman bought a ring for $250 that was later valued at $6,000.

The yearly auction is not a huge fund-raiser for the police – it usually raises between $1,000-$2,000 – but McClinton said the event is held primarily as a service to the community. She also said the auction is a prelude to the department’s car auction that will be held on June 5.

Some members of the public showed up simply to offer support for Aspen’s police. Local Todd Shaver said he attended not for the auction but to buy an Aspen PD shirt.

“It’s great to do this event for the public, and it’s nice to have the public show up to help us,” McClinton said.

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