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State Treasury firearms auction raises over $98,000 for W.Va. law enforcement agencies

More Than $588,000 Raised to Benefit Law Enforcement Since 2021

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Treasurer Riley Moore has announced his Office raised more than $98,000 for several state and local law enforcement agencies during its 11th unclaimed property firearms auction conducted Thursday, March 21, in Charleston.

The event raised $98,635 to benefit the 19 participating law enforcement agencies – upholding last year’s record high number of police departments, sheriff’s offices and police detachments turning over property for the auction. The event raises funds by selling outdated, unclaimed or old firearms, ammunition and related accessories in police inventory to qualified bidders.

“Since being elected as State Treasurer, my Office has raised more than $588,000 for law enforcement agencies across the state,” Treasurer Moore said. “It’s imperative that the brave men and women who protect and serve our communities have sufficient funding to purchase safety and training equipment. I’m proud my Office’s firearm auction program has expanded its reach and continues to grow each year to benefit state and local law enforcement.”

Since 2014, the State Treasurer’s Office has conducted 11 firearm auctions. Last week’s event featured 550 firearms and approximately 350 pounds of ammunition up for bid.

In March 2023, the Office’s spring auction raised a record total of more than $141,000 due to having its largest inventory up for bid.

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(Chapter 36, Article 8A), state and local law enforcement agencies are allowed to turn over any unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms in their possession to the State Treasurer’s Office for auction.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 can then be returned to the submitting agency for use.

To participate, bidders must be a valid, licensed federal firearms dealer – the event is not open to the general public. Thirty-eight dealers and authorized buyers from West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia attended the event.

The 19 participating law enforcement agencies included:

  • Alderson Police Department
  • Beckley Police Department
  • Belle Police Department
  • Charlestown Police Department
  • Doddridge County Sheriff’s Office
  • Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hardy County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lewisburg Police Department
  • Milton Police Department
  • Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force
  • Parkersburg Police Department
  • Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Preston County Sheriff’s Department
  • Stonewood Police Department
  • Tri-State Airport Authority Police
  • West Virginia Division of Natural Resources – Beckley detachment
  • West Virginia State Police – Buckhannon and Parkersburg detachments

In addition to firearms, the Unclaimed Property Code also allows law enforcement agencies to report cash that was seized, stolen or obtained as part of a criminal investigation and report it as unclaimed property once the case has been disposed and a lawful owner cannot be located.

Since 2021, Treasurer Moore has returned approximately $285,000 in additional cash appropriations to law enforcement agencies through this unclaimed property process.

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