Property Room: Where Cops Sell Stolen Goods


Property Room is an online police auction site that sells “hot” or stolen goods. It turns out that replacing the classic police auction is good business. The Seattle Times has more: (is) a California-based Web site that receives items from the property rooms of 1,600 law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. — 124 in Washington state — and sells them online. Proceeds are split between the police departments and the Web site. is set up as a kind of eBay for police auctions. Items are sold in categories including jewelry, fine art, tools, bicycles, watches and “everything else.” The site was founded by former police officers, including Daryl Gates, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, according to its Web site.

Since many of the items were stolen but never reclaimed, will return them to their owners provided they can prove ownership of an item shown online.

When the site started in 2001, it had contracts with 100 departments and profits of $3 million. Now, the company has contracts with nearly 2,000 departments, 25,000 new bidders each month, and last year reported a profit of $35 million, according to company spokeswoman Cher Murphy.

Proceeds go to police pension funds.

The goods aren’t all from police departments. The website claims 1,500 participating police departments and a “trusted merchant program“:’s Trusted Merchant program features high quality merchants that auction goods in accordance with our strict guidelines and standards. Quality and security of transactions for buyers and sellers is guaranteed via managing the payment process, carefully screening sellers and aggressively combating fraud.

The items on the site are expensive compared to eBay. Many of them are stolen, without evidence that police tried to find the original owners. And what, exactly, makes their “trusted merchants” trustworthy?

Two comments on the Seattle Times article caught my eye:

1) kil4stn

Total scam!!!! Here’s the proof:

I just saw a Squier P-bass for bid on the site they claim will be a shipping weight of 58 lbs.

OK – a Squier P-bass is about 8 lbs, 10 oz. If you buy a middle of the road hard shell case to protect / ship the bass in (in this case, a Peavey), the specifications are as follows:

Dimensions: 49.5″ W x 5.625″ H x 16.75″ D
Weight: 12.5 lbs.

Rounding up both weights, you arrive at 22 lbs total. Now we all know this cheap, seized bass, in who knows what condition, isn’t coming with ANY case, but let’s continue under this delusion for a moment.

All express shipping companies check larger packages’ dimensions, and use a formula to come up with something called “dimensional weight”, which affects how much your shipping charges will be. The customer pays the corresponding rate for whichever is greater – the “dim wt” or the actual weight.

The dim wt for this 22 lb package is 24.040 lbs. So regardless of the weight of the case (or even the existence of one), dimension wise this is a good estimate at what the rate SHOULD be, worst case scenario.

However, on this site, you will be charged shipping for 58 POUNDS!!!! That’s significantly MORE THAN DOUBLE WHAT YOU SHOULD BE CHARGED!

Shame on you, SPD, King County Sheriff’s Office, and any other law enforcement agencies involved with this scam!

2) snowdawg is a scam site. You can see that if you just watch it for a week. Though they might have some police departments participating, it seems the bulk of their business is selling counterfeits and items that they buy and resell. But the “police department advertising” gives it credibility, visibility and traffic that it should not have.

I’d like to know what police are doing to try to find the original owners of the stolen goods.

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  • Susan

    Propertyroom is not a scam. I have purchased many many “stolen” items and gotten many items for dirt cheap. Are you looking at the right site?

  • Nick

    I’ve bought quite a few things from Property Room without any trouble whatsoever. I’ve even returned something without hassle.

    Sure, not everything is from a police evidence bunker – but the things that aren’t generally aren’t advertised as being so. Besides, does it matter where it came from if you’re getting a great price on something?

  • Ok then why is the Envision 27″ Lcd Flat Screen A27W221 weighing 30 pounds is labeled as being 86 pounds without the stand so why is that. See for yourself and they ship FEDEX.

  • zrdini

    They sked for my redit card info. up front. Just to bid?guess I will look at another honest site!

  • LOL

    how stupid can you be? of course they ask for your credit card info to bid. first of all, any auction you will ever go to, you can not bid unless you prove you have the funds to pay for the item. also, if you are the winning bidder, you have to buy, you can’t renig on a bid. some ppl are just dumb.

  • dontmakemelaugh

    I’ve been shopping with that place for years. It’s the only site where ALL of their merchandise sells for more than ebay. How is this even possible when catering too such a small crowd? Ebay is the WORLDS LARGEST MARKETPLACE. It makes you wonder if your bids are being ran by someone who knows your proxy… Seriously watch a bunch of items for a few weeks and you too will be scratching your heads sayin WTF. People are actually allowed to consign their own merchandise which only furthers the bid runner theory. Another concern is that I religiously watch their merchandise for the orlando fl pickup to find deals and how is it that there is never any cool atv’s, dirtbikes and dope stuff of that nature on there? Once in a blue moon you’ll see a nice atv but seriously ask yourself, where is all the good stolen stuff going? I know people steal good stuff all over Fl all the time so where is the merchandise going? I religiously watch their site for years and seldom do you see the quality goods. Makes you wonder if you’re getting sloppy seconds… Although I shop at their site often I hate it. When the police stopped doing the auctions locally and started selling online it became a slap in the face because I know first hand what merchandise went thru there because I also religiously attended the local police auctions. You’d think I’m a reverend with all the religiousness goin on here. Furthermore, if you ask any of the police officers who used to do the local police auctions before they went online, those officers will tell you they too don’t like the online site. Those officers will straight up tell you they dislike the online site because for starters they don’t see squat for return on the sales and they themselves don’t get the bangin deals they used to because now it’s all shipped to the online biz. Somewhere in between someone’s makin out like a bandit. I would be inclined to think there is corruptness somewhere along those lines. I’m still amazed how the prices on most everything does better than ebay aka the biggest marketplace in the world? Granted there are some deals to be had but it’s hardly worth the time spent searching. I do it because I have to make a living and don’t want to leave any stone unturned but it’s the absolute last place I shop even when I’m desperate. It’s more of a waste of time than anything else, if you like to pay more than ebay prices then rock on doofus otherwise you might be disappointed with time and $ spent to get used merchandise. That is the real dirt folks.

  • Benthabits

    Its really sad to me to see people who don’t know how things work on the internet. Yes if you are going to a site that you are bidding… you need to have payment info entered on your account.. that way if you get all crazy and win some auctions… you actually get to pay for them… Now for the cops who are all sad they aren’t getting good deals… BUMMER Who is to say they should get deals any way! I don’t get perks at my work! Bid like the rest of the world! I have bid on some items from this site and never had any problems… they have a great system that keeps things fair for all bidders… As far as I’m concerned I would think the police departments are getting more money for the items since they have a larger exposure other then having a local auction. I think its a great program!

  • OPENyourEYES

    You know what else is sad is people who don’t read before they write. The site is safe to give personal info such as credit card info but clowning someone because they choose to be careful with sensitive information such as their credit card just shows your the mayor of dumbassville. In fact, it is smart to be careful with your credit card info on the internet and saying otherwise is sad. Again, I clearly know my stuff as I’ve paid the bills for a decade buying and selling nationwide including online. Still not satisfied eh buddy? Watch the site everyday for a year for: yamaha, honda, suzuki, kawasaki dirt bikes or fourwheelers and you will see nothing but cheap no name crap. What does this mean? I guess no one steals name brand atv’s… I don’t think so. Where’s it going? It’s not at your wonderful site nor at the local auctions so don’t come at us with great fair system program because you sound like you work for them. Or a bid runner who consigns there, either way also know the point about the cops who are unhappy they can’t bid was a point that everyone is all in this together. As far as you not getting any perks at your job, nobody cares about you or your job, find the complaint box at your work and also quit lyin, everybody gets perks and you know it. When stating ÿou would think the police departments are getting more $ blah blah blah… Go do your research and learn what they charge, the rate itself should be a crime. When you research and uncover how business is conducted only then will you know and understand. BUMMER!

  • This is a scam website

  • Thanks for the article and comments. I just won an auction for a new pair of designer sunglasses from for $8 (not including shipping). I can’t even buy a pair of junk sunglasses at Walmart for that price so it sounds like a good site.

  • crtsolutions

    Property Room was intitially called I ‘ve purchased quite a bit of items from there. Back then, the items were probably recovered stolen items, but now, I believe most of it is either is old/used equipment that was used at Police departments or just memebers of the Police departments hawk their stuff to get rif of it. Also, the bidding now seems a little sketchy; when you place a bid, all of a sudden you see a big stretch from when you made your bid (insider sniping?). DON’T TRUST THIS SITE!!!!!

  • Paul

    It is a SCAM!!! I bought a few rings and when they got to me they looked nothing like the picture, they were children rings, the colors and shapes of the stones differed from the pictures, and not by a few shades but totally different.

  • I bought Natural Amethyst and Diamond Ring Made in 14K White Gold, this ring DOESNOT have a diamond in sight…i am trying to return it as we speak. they also do not disclose the amount in taxes… this website has not been a good experience for me i will not do it again..MISLEADING

  • I have been shopping on this site for about 2 years. All had been well until about 7 months ago. I like to bid on gold chains and rings and my bids have beaten over and over. That would not seem so bad except for the fact that unique items with particular engraving have been relisted. This would lead one to believe that they have hired employees to govern the bidding in order to attain the price that they want. Yes this is a subject that will be hard to swallow for those out there that are sworn bidders to this site, I will leave that crowd alone. This is a message to all newcomers, believe me people stick to E-Bay!!

  • james

    I recently bid on an amp which they apper to have bid sniped and relisted. There is several of the same exact item listed and the same id is proxy bidding on almost all of them . I would like to believe otherwise but I’m starting to think there bid sniping there own products to drive up the price and if they win the item just gets reposted

  • I saw a news story on this site that was linked to penny auction site swipebids I wonder if they own that site too?

  • Sad Panda

    There is a lot of shitty items that have tons of fake bids, and if you bid it only gets more fake bids to trick you into paying more. I don’t doubt they actually have the items for sale but the scam is thinking your going to get anything for as cheap as it first appears.

    Bid on an item that was worth maybe 50, with 1 hour left it had NO new bids in days, then within 10 mins of my bid it had 22 new ones that sent the price well above what anyone would actually pay. Needless to say i left and went back to eBay.

  • Shanon

    FYI 95% of the stuff on is not from police departments. They buy their own stuff and resell.

  • Mike

    Seems very unethical. It gives the police an INCENTIVE to not find the original owners of the property, which sure as heck ought to be illegal. Auctions were originally meant to pay a little for the storage and handling of these items, but this site is turning a huge profit!! Now I know why my rolexes, video camera, and electric guitar were never “found”. They probably recovered them, but were “never able to find the rightful owner,” so they could sell them for profit. What a world! I think there should be a law limiting police auction sales to no more than half the estimated value of the item as a cap to discourage police departments acting as thieves themselves!

  • cris

    i have bought items they seemed ok but here is a catch when buying multi items that are the same they hit you for handling per item 4.95each and they will not combine shipping of the same items to save you any green and here is my last question they charge tax for a California item i live in Washington state i am not aware of any e-commerce that has ever done that unless its from the same state of purchase. fishy,sketchy,and well i can only say cops are a bunch of con-artist(perhaps not all) after dealing with this site.

  • cris

    one more thing i would like to add to my above comment this site does in the auction world what they call “BUY BACKS” when they do not get what they want for a item for bid they claim that it was sold to the “high bidder” a inside account and then wait for a while thinking people will forget the item then they relist it up for sale again. you can see this for your self. try it with a cars on there it says no reserve
    watch it it sells to a internal “high bidder” then a month or 2 later the same car shows back up on the site.
    the site is a scam go to a trusted site. or find out for your self

  • TheDude

    I’ve watched the auctions on here for a few weeks. I’ve also noticed that if i bid on an item that has has zero interest at all in final minutes it will suddenly shoot up in price to 15-50% more than the same items on ebay or amazon. Don’t waste your time.

  • David Kay

    I just won a bid on blackberry call phone 8530 for total of $118 W/bad a battery & no charger including sales tax & $13 Fedx never ups
    the battery and the charger are totaling $86
    A recondation phone is about $110
    PS are they allow to charge Tax if its out of state
    i have ask them why they Don’t return the property to the victims? so far no common,

  • David Kay

    PS it cost $10 more to unlock verizone phone
    Do they really mack effort to return the item to victims

  • Meforall

    i have been trying to buy a watch for my wife for a couple weeks now. i have not won a single auction!!!! i have lost 22 bids in the final hour. the auction will go a long time w no bids then all of a sudden one certain bidder starts bidding and seems like the 2 same bidders keep winning in the final hour. i will try these last 2 auctions i am bidding in and see if they try to run the price up on me again. not sure what these 2 people need with so many womens watches!! doesnt sound on the up and up to me.. oh well live and learn i guess.

  • We are currently investigating this website and taking bidders number to see if the numbers are on multiple auction listings and have overcharged bidding amounts or exact bidding amounts. We will then verify that the auction is a fraud then close them down after consulting the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You will get results no later than 04/2011. So stay posted.

  • Ruger

    I have purchased many items from them from back to the “Steal it Back” days.I have also questioned in my mind the bidding going on.But I have also gotten many good deals.I have also returned items with no problem.I do find the shipping and handling out of whack.Purchase on sports card and you are looking at a $16.00 shipping and handling fee.If it were not for the high cost of shipping I would still be buying a lot of items.

  • Morris Fishbine

    wE LOVE IT…….

  • James

    My name is James. I used to work with management, and I can tell you that the site is operating within the scope of the law, however its practices are extremely unscrupulous. I have written many of the scripts currently in use by them that engage bidders by placing false bids. There are so many loopholes that allow all these new penny auction sites and others to simply walk all over anyone willing to lie down and take it.

  • Sherrieblossom

    Fox News had given them a plug and I went to their site. I bid on a few items, and won a lovely malichite necklace. When I got it, it was broken in three places with missing beads. I counted the beads in the photo (made a copy of all photos before buying), so when I received it I knew if it was the same, or not. What I got was a bunch of loose beads, and some fishing line. Total crap! Wasted my money once on them – won’t do it again. Let me tell you, it had to be packaged like that (all broken), otherwise the box had a hole (which it did not) because of the bead count/missing beads.

  • Z. Phinehas

    Some of the stories here are valid and some are simply not. I have bought and sold everything purchased from this site. Not smart to buy used items from them but they guarantee the stated condition or your money back. Before you purchase you should do a filter to get only items from police not the other reliable merchants. Just to name a few of the new items I bought and sold, Blackberry Storm 2, PS3, IPods 8,30,60 and 80 gb, printer, and a couple watches. ALL NEW ALL SOLD. I do believe there are some bogus bids in the mix but you never have to buy if you don’t want.
    I am from the Midwest and have had no shipping issues other than the one I created when I moved.
    The Scam bid being portrayed is not valid as some make it seem, this site can be a good source probably not the only source of goods.