HOUSTON - Log on to Propertyroom.com, a website where one man's crime can turn into your treasure. The auctions start at a steal, just $1. The items sold come from police departments across the country including HPD.
"We cannot keep property here forever," said Lt. Olufemi Orekoya, with HPD's Property Division. "We'll run out of room. And as you can see we're running out of room."
Inside HPD's property room there are more than 500,000 items.
"All sorts of things," said Orekoya. "Bicycles, gambling devices, stolen tires."
Name it and chances are they have it. Everything from swords and machetes to wheelchairs, go-carts, lawnmowers, even a statue of Jesus.
"It is a lot of stuff, yes, but you have to remember we're a big city," said Orekoya.
And Houston area crooks steal everything. Most of the stuff in the property room is either stolen property and/or evidence in open investigations. About two percent or 10,000 items are found property and have no clear owner. Forty-three thousand items are tied to murder cases still under review.
"The bar code will tell you what's inside the box," said Orekoya.
There are thousands of boxes often with multiple items inside. If these items are never claimed, they will be auctioned off.
"This would fill up incredibly quickly, if we didn't do that," said Orekoya.
Weapons never make it to auction. They're destroyed, but once cases are closed, and that could take years, property like TV's and computers can go back to the owner.
"A lot of times, we will notify citizens multiple times," he said.
But a lot of people never come claim it. And if something's worth more than $500, they even post ads in the paper.
"We are not in a rush to dispose of anything," said Orekoya.
If all that fails, that unclaimed property could become yours if the price is right on Propertyroom.com. That money feeds right back into the city of Houston's general fund. About 63 items are set to be released to the website soon.
For more information on how to retrieve your property: go to http://www.houstontx.gov/police/divisions/property_division/