Now there is a site that openly advertises that it is selling stolen merchandise. Even better, when you buy hot merchandise off this site, you need not worry about the authorities showing up at your door in the wee hours of the morning with a search warrant. The reason for this is that the site is stocked by over 1500 Police Departments and is run by former law enforcement types.
The site, PropertyRoom.com is an e-version of the more traditional auctions held by Police departments to get rid of unclaimed stolen property. "With distribution and service centers nationwide, PropertyRoom.com specializes in the auction of stolen, seized, found and surplus goods and vehicles. Serving over 1,100 law enforcement agencies nationwide, we offer a fraud-free marketplace with superior customer support." according to the "about us" page on the site.
I decided to surf the site and it contains a wide array of goodies at cheaper prices than what I've seen being fenced (speculative) on other Internet auction sites. For instance, desktop computers being auctioned were being bid at well under $100, laptops were showing bids of $100 to $400 and iPods were being bid anywhere from about $16 to $150. Of course computers aren't the only items available on the site, which hawks all kinds of electronics, watches, jewelry, tools, cameras, cars and a host of other high theft items.
It is well known that criminals like to steal high value items that are easy to transport. They also tend to go after items that are popular and easy to sell (fence). If you are looking for popular items, this site is a good place to buy them at an almost too good to be true price, legally.
PropertyRoom.com also is in the fund raising business and will help charitable organizations raise money. All the costs of putting on the event are covered by PropertyRoom.com. I should also mention that some of the proceeds of the sales on the site help fund law enforcement agencies, who like the rest of us, are dealing with ever-dwindling financial resources.
They also maintain the only nationwide registry available to the general public for recovering lost or stolen goods. This service is completely free. You can register items that were stolen already, or your high value items that might be stolen at a later date. If they receive an item that matches what you have registered — your property will be returned to you. Try doing this at any of the other auction sites!
The Internet has opened new avenues for criminals to fence stolen merchandise. This has made it easier to sell stolen merchandise and there are many who believe that it contributes to the problem. The most recent survey by the National Retail Federation estimates that Organized Retail Crime is a $30 billion a year issue. Their most most recent Organized Crime Survey showed that e-fencing on traditional auction sites has grown by six percent. In response to this, they are even pushing bills in Congress to force the auction sites to allow more access to law enforcement and retailers, who are attempting to shut down this activity.
Even the government has found some of their stolen merchandise available for sale on eBay and Craigslist.
Please remember this doesn't even take into account the billions of dollars of property stolen from ordinary people. It also doesn't take into account the ordinary people who are scammed on auction sites, either. I wouldn't worry about getting scammed on PropertyRoom.com — I'm pretty sure they cooperate with law enforcement to the fullest extent.