Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Bidders' bonanza at Grand Forks police auction

The annual Grand Forks Police Department's public auction Saturday drew prospective buyers from around the area, many looking for a good deal on a car, pickup, bicycle or other useful items.

John Zimpel, of McMullen Auctioneers from Thief River Falls, Minn., raises a baseball glove and bats to start the bidding at the Grand Forks Police Department Public Auction on Saturday. Zimpel is assisted by fellow auction worker Kelly Kruta. (Photo by Pamela Knudson/Grand Forks Herald)
John Zimpel, of McMullen Auctioneers from Thief River Falls, Minn., raises a baseball glove and bats to start the bidding at the Grand Forks Police Department Public Auction on Saturday. Zimpel is assisted by fellow auction worker Kelly Kruta. (Photo by Pamela Knudson/Grand Forks Herald)

The annual Grand Forks Police Department's public auction Saturday drew prospective buyers from around the area, many looking for a good deal on a car, pickup, bicycle or other useful items.

They milled around rows of vehicles, checking under the hoods and peering in windows at the city's impound lot in north Grand Forks.

Rusty Johnson of Larimore, N.D., had his eye on a black and white, Grand Forks police canine vehicle, a 2011 Crown Victoria that he could convert to demolition derby car.

Making it derby-ready would take "a lot of manipulating and welding," not to mention a few hundred dollars and an investment of time, he said.

"You wouldn't recognize it after we're done with it."

ADVERTISEMENT

Johnson enters a few derbies every year, he said. "Once you run your first derby, it kind of gets in your blood."

Last year, he bought "five or six" cars at this auction, he said.

In addition to motor vehicles and a motorcycle, about 200 bikes were available to bidders.

"You can get a very nice bike for $20," said John Plante, community service officer with the police department.

A wide assortment of abandoned and unclaimed property was displayed on tables.

"Some of these things have never been used," Plante said. "They're still in their original boxes."

The unclaimed items are the remnants of closed court cases; they are no longer needed as evidence and police have exhausted all means of returning them to their rightful owners, said Kaelyn Heikens, property and evidence coordinator for the police department.

Auction items included a KitchenAid stand mixer, table-top grill, pizza oven, freezer, lamps, office chairs, exercise equipment, paving blocks, lockers, fans, construction tools, cement mixer, TVs, air conditioning unit, clothing, sporting goods, skateboards, bedding and jewelry.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We have a little bit of everything," said Heikens.

Even high-end watches and a diamond ring in its original black velvet-lined box.

The police department also offered a trailer, donated by FEMA to the city after the Flood of '97.

"This is our last one," Plante said. "We had two."

It has been used as a command center or as a headquarters from which educational programs, such as bike-safety promotion, are conducted.

"It needs a lot of maintenance and repair," said Lt. Dwight Love of the police department. "At some point you have to stop putting money into it."

But it could still be used as a lake cabin or hunting shack, Love said.

Last year, the FEMA trailer that had been used by the Grand Forks Fire Department sold for $7,000, Plante said.

ADVERTISEMENT

There is limited space for storing such items, Plante said. Last winter, 17 vehicles were sold online through govdeals.com "because we needed the room."

Proceeds from the auction go into the City of Grand Forks' general fund.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.