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Suffolk police property auction raises $42G

Suffolk Police Officer Robert Viggers, left, sells a

Suffolk Police Officer Robert Viggers, left, sells a guitar at the department's property auction in Yaphank. (June 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Quinn O'Callaghan

Suffolk Police Officer Robert Viggers was having trouble getting the crowd at the Property Section building in Yaphank on Wednesday to bite on a pair of home fitness program DVDs.

“C’mon,” he said, standing on a platform overlooking the crowd of dozens at the department’s auction. “Two seized P90X workout programs! It’ll work so great you’ll burn out the first one and need the second!”

Viggers has been the Suffolk police auctioneer for seven years.

“I try to keep it light,” he said.

Other items he moved included a sledgehammer, an Ibanez acoustic guitar with tuning keys that need minor repair, a plastic “stocking” full of dog toys, four pairs of lady’s size eight sandals in a computer bag, a 32-foot Maxum boat, a “mystery knapsack” and six Jet Skis -- only two of which had engines.

All auction items were either seized, reclaimed, or once used as evidence but no longer needed. Profits from the auction go to a Suffolk general surplus fund.

Viggers said the auction is a lot of work, but he wouldn’t trade it for the world. “I absolutely love it here,” he said. “These are good, honest, hardworking people who come out here. They get great deals on items, and in turn we get to put money back into the county.”

Some attendees, like brothers Sean and Brendan Lahti, are relatively new to auctions. Sean picked up a stack of X-Box 360 games for $35. The duo also had their eyes fixed on a Jet Ski later in the day.

“I’d like one with an engine, but it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker if it didn’t have one and it was cheap enough,” Sean said.

Others, like Morris Stoler, are auction veterans. Stoler said he has been coming to the auction for 20 years. “I came once and I became addicted,” adding that he doesn’t hold onto a lot of what he buys.

“Most of the things I get here I give away,” he said. “I bought 10 TVs over the past two auctions, and I’ve given eight away to family and friends.”

The event Wednesday raised about $42,000, according to a police spokeswoman.

Dennis Milito has been selling refreshments out of his coffee truck at the auction for two years. As a vendor, he’s not allowed to buy anything, but he does get a kick out of watching it unfold.

“People get into a bidding frenzy,” Milito said. “I don’t know if it’s the anxiety of it, because people are trying to get whatever item, but I’m pretty sure sometimes they’re spending more more money than they would at Sears for these things.”


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