AUSTIN, Texas - Nearly 4 dozen motorcycles are parked near the Southbound Frontage Road of Hwy 183 for a reason. Meant to be an eye-catcher, the motorcycles lure people into the state surplus center in East Austin.
That’s how Ann-Marie Irwin ended up here, "I wanted to tell my friends who ride, hey there's motorcycles, let’s go get a motorcycle,” said Irwin.
The 10-day auction for the motorcycles started Tuesday night with opening bids, each starting at $100. The bikes have dents and dings from being used in the DPS Motorcycle Training Program. A few are missing parts and no longer run.
"There’s a lot of diamonds in the rough, and there are some definite parts vehicles,” said Kristy Fierro.
Kristy Fierro manages the surplus program snd she says those interested in making a bid can inspect the bikes on the 10th and 11th of February.
$450 was the highest price paid so far from an auction earlier this year. "You just have to look at what you are bidding on, a lot of our buyers will buy two, because they are inexpensive, and put the two together and sometimes they walk away with two winners,” said Fierro.
Another shipment of more than 100 motorcycles will be auctioned off in March.
The surplus center gets a portion of each sale, the agencies get the bulk of the money and what they don’t use goes back to the General Fund. Essentially tax dollars are getting recycled.
Steve Reyes is a regular shopper and said each visit is like hunting treasure. "And I’m in the recycling business and that’s part of the reason why I’m here too, to look around and see what I can get,” said Reyes
There are thousands of items for sale. Furniture from state offices and electronics confiscated by law enforcement.
There are also containers filled with prohibited items surrendered to the TSA. "As far as the TSA items that are lost, the most surprising is going to be, large tools, like skill saws, power saws, it’s confusing as to why you'd try to carry that on a plane,” said Fierro.
They also have bags of jewelry. Some of it is costume, but there are pearls, diamonds, expensive watches, gold and silver rings.
Some items are put up for bid, like the motorcycles, others are sold on the spot. Last year surplus sales generated $6.7 million for the state.