The Grand Forks Police Department's annual auction will be held this year online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopeful buyers will have the chance to bid on more than 300 items from the police impound lot and evidence inventory beginning Thursday, July 9, through 6 p.m. Thursday, July 16.

GFPD Lt. Dwight Love said he suspects the online format will encourage more bidding. He said the police department had considered moving to an online format even prior to the pandemic, and if all goes well this year, he said there's a chance future auctions also will be held online.

"The buyers kind of pushed us in that direction," he said. "I think it's going to actually turn out maybe even better, because, instead of waiting around all day for one thing you want to buy, you're able to just click on it and buy it. So I think we might get even more people looking at items and bidding on them."

The auction serves as a chance for police to get rid of vehicles and other items confiscated during investigations whose owner either can't be found or doesn't want the item any more. All money made through the annual auction goes into the city's general fund, Love said.

This year's auction features dozens of vehicles, more than 200 bicycles and other miscellaneous items.

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Over the past four years, the auction has put a net $101,951.81 in the city's coffers, according to data provided by the police department.

Last year saw a significant jump in revenue generated by the auction: Sales raised a net total of $34,848.81 across 389 lots, up from net totals in the $21,000 to 23,000 range in prior years with a roughly equal or higher number of lots.

Love said such fluctuations from year to year are normal, and it's difficult to predict how much revenue the auction might generate each year.

"I think it's interesting for the public just to go on the McMullen's web page, the auction site, and see what we've got," Love said.

Interested buyers can view photos and information about each lot by visiting www.mcmullensales.com.