HARRISBURG Pennsylvania prepares to auction everything from 'diamonds to dump trucks' next week at state farm show grounds.





HARRISBURG (AP) -- You could call it Pennsylvania government's biggest indoor yard sale. And everything must go -- from gold and diamond jewelry seized from drug dealers to highway pavement patchers that have outlived their usefulness. The state Department of General Services has organized its first government surplus auction involving multiple state agencies and the federal government. The event is slated to take place Monday through Aug. 31 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on the outskirts of Harrisburg. "It's everything from diamonds to dump trucks," said Edward L. Myslewicz, the department's spokesman. The department traditionally holds government surplus auctions twice a year, said Joseph M. Angelo, chief of the state's surplus property division. This year, officials decided it would be better to combine what had been separate auctions of vehicles, heavy equipment from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the state Transportation Department, and federal government surplus items, Angelo said. "The majority of folks who go to heavy-equipment auctions and vehicle auctions are dealers, more or less," Angelo said. "But this gets people from the public very interested." Auction proceeds either go into the state's general fund or to the agency that is selling the items. Used highway equipment sometimes finds a new home with a farmer or an equipment dealer, Angelo said. "There's a company in the Midwest that buys a lot of our equipment because they need it for (that region's) snow removal," he said. Merchandise most likely to appeal to the average buyer is included in offerings from the state attorney general's office. It includes one stainless steel and 18-karat gold Rolex watch appraised at $3,500 and another Rolex appraised at $1,500 -- a relative bargain because it has a "non-genuine" bracelet. Anyone in the market for electronics can bid on a laptop computer, cell phone, digital camera, or stereo speakers. A vast array of cars, motorcycles and sport-utility vehicles will be on the auction block as well, some of them vehicles from the state fleet and others seized by or forfeited to the attorney general's office -- such as a 1993 Lexus with more than 118,000 miles on the odometer. The attorney general's office has the authority to seize property in drug investigations if it can prove either that the property, such as a car, was used in drug transactions, or that it was purchased with drug money, agency spokesman Kevin Harley said. Buyers of seized vehicles need not worry about inadvertently taking home any contraband with them, Harley said. "They're searched pretty thoroughly," he said. Items available from the General Services Administration's federal surplus property auction included combined washing machine and dryer appliances, camping equipment and window blinds.



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