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Hundreds of cars unclaimed in Sandy to be auctioned in New York

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UNDATED: Flood damaged taxis in Weehawken, NJ, are among the thousands of cars that will need to be repaired or replaced in the coming weeks in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. (AP)

More than 500 BMWs, Cadillacs, Toyotas and other vehicles damaged and towed during Superstorm Sandy remain unclaimed and will be auctioned off next month, city officials said Saturday.

The city is working with auction house David R. Maltz in Central Islip, on Long Island, to make the sales. Company vice president Richard Maltz said the vehicles are advertised on the company's website as flood-damaged but may be salvageable.

Buyers need 25 percent deposits in cash or bank checks, and proceeds will go to the city's coffers, except for a 10 percent premium for the auction house.

More than 3,300 vehicles were towed from emergency routes used for debris removal and street cleaning in the days following the late October storm, which swamped lower Manhattan and devastated beachfront neighborhoods including the Rockaways in Queens. Some cars drifted blocks away from where they were parked, landing on sidewalks, under giant tree limbs and inside homes.

The city created a hotline for residents to track down their vehicles and started notifying owners. As of January, 696 vehicles were unclaimed, the city said. The city contracted with the auction house to store the remaining vehicles, continue to issue notifications to their owners and eventually auction them off. As of Saturday, 535 cars were unclaimed.

Under state law, unclaimed cars can be sold after 10 days.

But city officials said they will continue to work with owners if they realize their cars are at the auction house.

Two auctions will be held, on May 2 and 7. The auction was first reported in the New York Post.

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