LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Looking for a cheap Chevy Tahoe? Or a $150 moped? How about some unclaimed chairs and other household items?
It’s all available through surplus auctions in Louisville.
The Louisville Metro Police Department handles auctions of vehicles and other property, items and belongings deemed surplus, abandoned, confiscated or unclaimed.
The need to get more than 1,000 abandoned vehicles off the impound lot on Frankfort Avenue has become more urgent in recent months after the pandemic paused auctions while cars and trucks sat idle on the side of busy roads and interstates around Louisville, even leading at times to serious or deadly crashes.
Getting in on the auction action is not as hard as some may think.
Residents can simply visit louisville-police.org/188/Vehicle-Auctions to find more inform and links related to bidding on vehicles and other items.
Vehicle auctions are held roughly twice a month, with an auctioneer collecting payments for any acquired car or truck at the end of the proceedings, according to LMPD.
Purchased vehicles also must get picked up within five days of the end of the auction, the police department also says, with pick-up from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the LMPD Impound Lot, 1487 Frankfort Ave.
Bidding on seized or unclaimed items is also available via GovDeals, an online marketplace, though the page for Louisville property held by the government was not listing anything as of early July.
The Proxibid website that lists vehicles in the LMPD Impound Lot, however, often has plenty of interesting opportunities for buyers.
What vehicles are at the Louisville impound lot?
LMPD spokeswoman Angela Ingram told The Courier Journal last month that roughly 1,200 vehicles were at the impound lot.
“About 500 are on investigative hold, leaving roughly 700 eligible for release,” Ingram wrote in an email. “All vehicles eligible for release are either auctioned or disposed of after 45 days of going unclaimed. Auctions are held approximately every two weeks and range from 50-100 vehicles per auction.”
On a weekday earlier in the spring, some of the vehicles that did not sell during a since-closed auction included a blue 2008 Chrysler 300 and a grey 2020 Volkswagen Jetta, with photos appearing to show a few belongings left inside but otherwise nothing egregious in terms of damage.
But many vehicle descriptions on the auction site read the same: “Condition is TRULY unknown and untested, may or may not have keys, carefully review the pictures and make your own value determination given any and all auction constraints.”
A grey 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis went for $625 to one lucky buyer, with its front bumper and grille appearing to not be in the best shape.
A green 1995 Chevy Tahoe, meanwhile, that appeared to not have any exterior damage fetched for $2,500, and a black 2009 Zhejiang Jonway moped went for $150.
How do I recover my vehicle if it was stolen or part of a police investigation?
Some may wonder what they need to do if their vehicle is stolen but then recovered by LMPD, or if it was held for investigative purposes as part of a police investigation.
LMPD notes on its website it “does not charge impound and/or storage fees for recovered stolen vehicles that are released to the registered owner or notarized representative.”
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The department “also does not charge impound and/or storage fees for the release of a vehicle that was on hold for investigative purposes, provided the owner is not the suspect in the case,” the website also says.
Residents can call (502) 572-7078 to schedule a retrieval appointment or to verify any fees possibly associated with a towed vehicle.
To claim their vehicle, residents must bring an ID, license, title and VIN number.
The lot is open for retrievals from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
If a vehicle is not at the LMPD lot, then the department reminds residents it is possible the car or truck was left at the scene or may have been towed by a different law enforcement agency that residents should then contact, such as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Shively, St. Matthews, Jeffersontown or other local municipalities.
How can I find out if my vehicle is in the impound lot?
Let’s say your vehicle was blocking a street or abandoned on the side of the road.
LMPD’s Vehicle Impoundment Unit may have taken it as a result to the impound lot.
If you are hoping to confirm it is in the lot, you can visit bit.ly/3xik5Zr to search for your vehicle by entering the VIN and license plate number.
Reach Billy Kobin at firstname.lastname@example.org.