The Waterford Township Police Department will begin disbursing unclaimed bicycles in their possession to needy families within the community rather than auctioning them off.
The department has collected over 200 bicycles in the last 1.5 years that have been either lost or stolen. Typically the department auctions the cache off, snagging only between $2 and $5 per bike; so, Police Chief Daniel McCaw came up with the idea of donating the bikes to the needy in the community.
“With the amount of time and preparation it takes for auctioning these bikes off, it’s better served to help the children in our community, especially during the economic times,” McCaw said. “It’s a good way to go.”
To begin the process, however, McCaw had to seek approval from the Waterford Township Board of Trustees since it wasn’t addressed in the township’s procurement policy.
At its meeting on Monday, June 13, the board unanimously approved letting the department move forward with the measure.
“This is a great way to handle it and will benefit the community,” said Waterford Treasurer Margaret Birch.
Before donating the inventory, the department will give the public one last attempt to reclaim the bicycles on Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to noon provided each claimant shows proof of ownership.
“Anyone who has a lost, stolen, or missing bike can reclaim it if they bring along paperwork or a police report, and then we’ll verify it,” McCaw said.
Acceptable ways of proving ownership could include a receipt, a police report, or something as simple as providing an accurate and specific description of the bike.
McCaw noted that if the claimant is under 17-years-old, he or she must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The left-over bikes will be donated to the Waterford School District, the Waterford Coalition for Youth and the Waterford Police Chaplin Corps, which will each identify children in need.
McCaw expects the bicycles to be disbursed to these agencies sometime next week.
He added that if a bike is reported to police or registered with the township via a bike license, it is much easier for a bike to be returned once it goes missing.
“If we have a serial number plugged into the databases, the bike is normally returned within a week,” he said.