State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced his Office’s recent record-breaking unclaimed property firearms auction raised more than $27,000 total for the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and South Charleston Police Department – funds that can now be used to improve safety and law enforcement efforts in the local community.
“It’s an honor to conduct our annual unclaimed property firearms auction to raise money for the brave men and women across West Virginia who risk their lives to keep our communities safe,” Treasurer Moore said. “This year's auction raised a record amount of funds that police departments can use to invest in new equipment, facilities and training programs they need to protect and serve our citizens.”
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office received $16,087.50 and South Charleston Police Department received $11,193.75 from the most recent auction that occurred on March 16 in Charleston. Treasurer Moore presented both checks at the Kanawha County Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 16.
“The State Treasurer’s Office’s firearms auction program is a smooth and efficient process to turn over seized firearms and receive the funds we need to purchase safety equipment and training for our officers,” South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart said. “We recently hired new deputies and we will need to purchase bulletproof vests for them as well as vests for our new dogs in our K-9 unit.”
“We are able to enhance our response capabilities with the funds we receive from the firearms auction,” Kanawha County Chief Deputy Joe Crawford said. “To keep our community and deputies safe, it is vital that we provide the necessary training and special equipment for our law enforcement officers and these funds can help us do just that.”
The auction raised a record total of more than $141,000 to benefit the 15 law enforcement agencies that participated in the auction. The auction raises funds by selling outdated, unclaimed or old firearms, ammunition and related accessories in police inventory to qualified bidders.
This year’s event raised a record amount of funds due to having its largest inventory up for bid – approximately 600 firearms lots and 47 accessories and ammunition lots available at the auction.
Under West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property Code (Chapter 36, Article 8A), state and local law enforcement agencies are allowed to turn over any unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms in their possession to the State Treasurer’s Office for auction.
These include weapons that are older and no longer used by a department, or that have been seized as evidence and sitting in storage rooms for an extended amount of time following the disposition of a case. They can also include weapons taken from individuals who are not legally allowed to own firearms.
Once law enforcement certifies they cannot find a lawful owner of the firearms, they can be turned over to the Treasurer’s Office for auction.
The proceeds from the auction are then returned to the submitting agency for use.
Pictured left to right: Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, Kanawha County Sheriff Michael Rutherford, State Treasurer Riley Moore, Kanawha County Chief Deputy Joe Crawford
Pictured left to right: Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart, State Treasurer Riley Moore, Kanawha County Commissioner Lance Wheeler