People seek holiday deals at police auction

By Gus Bode

Police divest themselves of bikes, electronics

People filled the Thomas Elementary School gym Saturday to try and snatch up bargains at the semi-annual unclaimed property auction of the Carbondale and SIUC police departments.

“Whenever I see what I want, I bid on it,” said Monecia Allen, of Carbondale.


The auction, conducted by Doerr Auction Service, featured various unclaimed property acquired by the two departments. Video consoles and games, DVD players, Care Bears and a remote-control Escalade were all up for bid, but the item of the day was bicycles, lots of them.

Ethan Suttles, a sophomore from Anchorage, Al., studying marketing, loads a bike for Jamal Wilkerson, of Carbondale, Saturday during the Police Auction of Unclaimed Property at Thomas School. Wilkerson’s mother, Cynthia Henry, said she and her son come every year and buy bikes from the auction to give to friends. A Carbondale Police Department representative said there were between 150 and 165 bikes for auction, as well as several personal and electronic items. Isaac Smith | Daily Egyptian

Ray Doerr said there were about 150 bikes in all, which filled a sizeable portion of the gym’s floor space.

David Kidd, of Carbondale, said he’s attended the auction for 20 years. He said he started coming to get bicycles for his children, whose were always stolen, so he started keeping a stock of extra bikes.

“They had their bikes stolen as quick as I could buy them,” he said.

Kidd said while he enjoys the auction, all the property for bid reveals how rampant petty theft is in Carbondale. Ironically, one year, he won a watch, but when he went to claim it, he said, it had been stolen from the auctioneers.

This year, Kidd won a Bianchi bicycle for $130, $5 more than the price he set for it when he viewed all the bikes before the auction.


Kidd said he probably got a pretty good deal on it, and it was going to be his son’s Christmas gift.

Allen scored a PlayStation 2 for $40, which she said will be a Christmas present for her daughter.

Allen said she’s been coming for four or five years, and it’s a good way to do Christmas shopping. She said she can get good prices and, as an added bonus, it’s an exciting way to shop.

Ron Moore, of Raleigh, said he was on the lookout for bikes as Christmas gifts for his nieces. He said he had been to Mt. Vernon’s police auction, which featured more surprising items, and he bought a lot of gas masks one year.

“We expected more than just bikes,” he said.

Kidd said the Carbondale auction has featured some amusing items in the past, including a full hydroponics system.

Bikes are good enough for some people though.

Sid Harlen, of Marion, said he bought eight bikes at last year’s auction with plans to resell them. However, he ended up giving away four and still has some of them, he said.

Harlen brought his two grandsons along, and said they planned on going to another auction that day.

“I enjoy an auction, but you get to stand all day … that’s part of the challenge,” Harlen said.

Doerr said there’s definitely a culture of auction-going in southern Illinois, and people fare long hours of standing and bad weather to make their bids.

“People get addicted to them,” he said.