Westmoreland Coroner auctions off guns used in suicides, accidental shootings – WTAE Pittsburgh

Sinister Sale: Coroner required to auction off unclaimed evidence

Gun collectors or those fascinated with morbidity can own a piece of Westmoreland County evidence.

The Coroner’s Office is holding an auction Nov. 8 in which 97 guns will be auctioned. Several out-of-service county vehicles will be auctioned as well.

Coroner Ken Bacha said state law allows coroner’s staff to remove personal effects from decedent’s bodies. After the investigation is complete, family members have up to one year to claim the items. If they go unclaimed, by law, the coroner has to hold an auction. All funds raised will then go back to the county’s general fund.

VIDEO: Watch Ashlie Hardway’s Report

As the auction date gets closer, both the coroner and the auctioneer are seeing an increase in interest.

“Now as we are a week and a half away, we’re getting more phone calls, several today. I talked to the auctioneer earlier today, and he’s getting a lot of hits to his website and a lot of calls to his office as well,” Bacha said. “I know when my dad had the auction in the 80s, there were guns that were valued at $100 brand new that were selling for $200. Was it just the novelty of it, that this gun took a life? I’m not really sure.”

Bacha’s father, Leo Bacha, was the former Westmoreland County coroner and also held the last evidence auction.

Bacha said the guns being auctioned were not used in homicides. He said forensic investigators house those weapons in secure evidence facilities for trials and appeals.

“Most of these firearms that are going to be auctioned are non-homicide firearms, meaning accidental deaths, but most of them are suicides,” Bacha said.

The auction will be held at 10 a.m. with a preview at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8 …read more

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