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Army jeeps auctioned in Adams continue to be held following attorney general, Army inquiry

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ADAMS — Ten Army jeeps sold in an auction at Dobbin’s Auto Salvage Yard earlier this month still have not been released to their buyers, as their origin continues to be researched by the state attorney general’s office and Army investigators.

Gordon O. Dobbin, owner of the 10545 Route 11 business, said Thursday that he had not heard anything from investigators in several days.

“They’re dragging their feet,” Mr. Dobbin said.

He said that communication with the state office about the sale was being done for him by his lawyer but that he hoped a resolution could be determined in the next few days.

“I don’t see what the problem is, but they’re trying to create one,” Mr. Dobbin said.

Each of the jeeps sold at the May 4 auction went for bids ranging from $4,000 to $7,000. Customers then were directed to deposit 10 percent of the price until the sale was formally approved.

A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office in New York City said Thursday that he had been informed the vehicles may have been meant to be destroyed and that none of the vehicles had a good title.

However, the lack of titles for the vehicles was known throughout the sale process. None of the jeeps sold May 4 had a title; winning bidders were told by auction officials that they would receive bills of sale.

Roger Trombley, regional senior sales manager for Alex Lyon & Son, Bridgeport, which conducted the auction, said May 7 that the Army had lost its records for the jeeps, so they could not be tracked.

The attorney general’s office spokesman, who asked that his name not be published or the information attributed to the office, said he could not comment on whether Mr. Dobbin had done something wrong.

In a follow-up email, the spokesman said the older vehicles presented a safety hazard because of their tendency to roll when hitting bumps in the road.

However, during the sale, potential bidders were informed that the jeeps were designated as not for highway use.

A couple of buyers interviewed by the Times the day of the auction said they used the jeeps for presentation purposes or for use in low-risk driving situations such as veterans parades.

The origin and titles for the vehicles were questioned by Fort Drum’s Criminal Investigation Command a few days before the auction, although the auction had been listed for a few months previously.

On Tuesday, Christopher P. Grey, spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command, Quantico, Va., said that the case was still open and that the office was consulting with the state attorney general’s office in the matter.

Mr. Trombley, a 33-year member of the auction company, said May 7 that his company typically did not have problems selling military vehicles.

The state and military inquiry also has held up the sale of a series of military trailers auctioned off that day.

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