May 09, 2007 LAPEER — Happily, the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department will get an even bigger check than they anticipated from the sale of an M-16 rifle.
Bids were closed at 5 p.m. on May 1 and a Texas collector came in with the highest offer of $18,000. Undersheriff Bob Rapson said the estimated value of the firearm was $15-17,000.
"From what I understand, he is a well-established collector," Rapson said of the highest bidder.
The man, who has yet to be publicly identified by authorities, will still undergo a background check by the sheriff's department and the federal government's Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division.
Ninety-eight bids were collected for the collector quality, military grade rifle. The sheriff's department received permission from the county to auction the barely-used gun to help offset budget shortfalls.
The $18,000 will help pay for 83 service weapons for deputies already purchased in addition to other equipment for the department's officers, Rapson said.
Although not unique, the auction received some state-wide media attention and criticism from gun control advocates.
Rapson said that the department followed all the proper, federally-approved procedures for the sale.
"Our goal was to get the equipment that our deputies needed, realizing that our county is strapped for cash, as is the state, and not be a burden on the taxpayers," he said.
Outside of some criticism, Rapson said others have credited the county officials for the creative fundraiser.
"I'm glad that people have confidence in the system," he said.