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La-Z-Boy bids soar on eBay

Proctor Police Chief Walter Wobig talks about the motorized La-Z-Boy his department seized after its owner hit a parked vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The chair went up for auction on eBay on Thursday, with a starting bid of $500. Steve Kuchera/

The motorized La-Z-Boy lounge chair that Proctor police seized after its inebriated owner hit a parked vehicle went up for auction on eBay on Thursday. As of 7:36 a.m. today the chair had 41 bids and reached $1,931.

"Be the only one in town with a unique vehicle like this," the Police Department promises in the eBay advertisement below a photo of the notorious chair. "Known as the world famous DWI Motorized La-Z-Boy style Chair, year built unknown. This is a unique vehicle located in Proctor Minnesota. The vehicle has been obtained from a DWI forfeiture. ... This is a great parade vehicle or a terrific business draw."

But the chair isn't the only item headed for eBay that's related to the La-Z-Boy case. The family of the chair's former owner also will sell an autographed photo of Dennis LeRoy Anderson riding the chair.

"All proceeds will go to Dennis to help him with his fees," said Tim Jorgenson, Anderson's son-in-law.

Jorgenson and his wife, Andrea, have no hard feelings toward the Proctor police for seizing Anderson's motorized chair.

"I feel they did their job," Andrea Jorgenson said outside the Proctor Police Department on Thursday morning. "He shouldn't have been drinking and driving."

She wants people to know her father, a Navy veteran, is a good person.

"He has had a hard time since Mom died five years ago," she said.

Proctor Police Chief Walter Wobig agreed that Anderson is a "super-nice guy."

The chair, which is powered by a lawnmower engine, includes a stereo, cup holder, magazine holder, a rearview mirror and lights.

Anderson had little to say about the affair when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

"They [the Police Department] are going to make money off it big-time," Anderson said. "I feel it ought to go to the homeless people or the school district."

State statute, however, determines how money from the auction will be divided, with some going to the state, the court system and the Police Department, Wobig said.

"Anything I receive from the sale can go to outfit two new squads and save the taxpayers some money," he said.

Anderson pleaded guilty earlier this month in St. Louis County District Court to DWI in connection with an Aug. 31, 2008, incident in Proctor. According to the criminal complaint, Anderson drove his motorized chair into a vehicle near a Proctor bar. His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.29 percent, more than three times the legal limit to drive. There were no injuries in the incident.

Wobig said the department had no choice but to seize the motorized chair. "We've seized ATVs, snowmobiles, trailers, cars and pickup trucks," he said. "We want to be fair and equitable to everybody. We can't show favoritism."

Since word of the incident spread earlier this month, the Proctor police have received calls from media outlets around the nation and as far away as Great Britain.

Interest in the chair has taken Wobig by surprise.

"I've been in law enforcement 31 years and I've never seen anything like this," he said.