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Westmoreland County to auction guns, vehicles |

Westmoreland County to auction guns, vehicles

For one day, Westmoreland County is going into the gun business.

The county will conduct a public auction Nov. 8 to sell 97 confiscated guns, along with a few older vehicles, to the highest bidders.

It will be the first such auction conducted in about 30 years, according to Coroner Ken Bacha.

State law requires the coroner’s office to sell off unclaimed property, including guns, at public auctions. While the county regularly auctions its surplus equipment and office supplies, weapons haven’t been sold since Bacha’s father, Leo, was a coroner in the 1980s.

The weapons in this sale — rifles, shotguns and handguns, some of which have sat in an evidence locker at the courthouse for three decades — have been in the custody of the coroner’s office.

“Some are expensive, and some are very good quality. And some would be considered collectibles,” Bacha said.

Many of the firearms were used in suicides, Bacha said.

The coroner’s office confiscated the guns as part of death investigations. Family members have one year to claim all property seized by the office, but many elected not to take back guns used in suicides, Bacha said.

Last year, the coroner’s office investigated 55 suicides; firearms were used in 34.

The county hired Bill Anderson of Delmont to conduct the auction.

Anderson will use a licensed gun dealer to coordinate the weapons sales, which must adhere to state and federal laws regarding background checks for buyers.

Bacha said he’s not sure how much money will be generated through the gun sales. All money will be turned over to the county’s general fund.

The county’s public works department will auction nine surplus vehicles that are no longer in service.

“These vehicles won’t pass inspection and are in need of major work,” said Public Works Director Greg McCloskey. “They always sell, though. Some might get $1,000 or scrap values.”

The auction will begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 8 in the Westmoreland County Public Works Building, 194 Donohoe Road, Hempfield. Items may be previewed starting at 9 a.m.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or

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