Police auction in Columbus draws 800 bidders

The 2003 Mercedes Benz E500 sitting in the parking lot of the Columbus Public Safety Center would have normally gone for more than $50,000 new.

On Saturday, the luxury car sold for about $18,000 to the highest bidder at a public auction of goods seized in joint operations involving Metro Narcotics Task Force, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Internal Revenue Service.

More than 800 people showed up Saturday to check out the deals on 23 suped-up cars as well as a host of other items confiscated by federal agents during drug busts: necklaces and chains, desktop computers, a Honda motorcycle, furniture, mouth grills and televisions up to 60 inches wide.

In all, the auction brought in about $145,000, said Meisha Clark, a marketing assistant for Wayne Evans Auction Company, which conducted the auction. The proceeds go back into drug-enforcement budgets.

A number of auction staffers said Saturday’s crowd was larger than usual compared to past auctions.One registration clerk said before the auction began at 9 a.m., they had already registered 600 people interested in bidding. In all, 800 people registered to bid, Clark said.

“I think (it was) because of the type of vehicles we had and the advertising we had done,” she said.The highest priced item?The 2003 Mercedes — which also came with Asanti rims.

Another popular vehicle, a white 2003 GMC Yukon Denali, went for $13,000 — a great deal, Clark said.

“Most definitely,” she said. “Those types of Denalis, they’re usually $30,000, $40,000.”

Clark said they were able to sell 22 of the 23 vehicles up for bid.