CANAL FULTON — Ethan Loeffler, 4, of Medina, could barely see over the steering wheel of the “Ghostbusters” replica car he climbed into just before it was auctioned Saturday morning.
Although his father, MIke Loeffler, would have liked to get it for him, the highest bid came from bidder No. 3667, whose identity and home state were unknown. (The bidder sought to remain anonymous and, abiding by the bidder’s wishes, auction house employees won’t tell.)
Bidder 3667 placed the winning bid online, paying a total of nearly $500,000 for the three cars up for grabs at the Skipco auction house: the “Ghostbusters” Ectomobile, Batman’s Batmobile and the “Back to the Future” DeLorean time machine.
The cars were part of a U.S. Marshals Office forfeiture stemming from a $43 million Medicaid fraud case in Youngstown, said Janet Duncan, district asset forfeiture coordinator with the Marshals’ Cleveland office.
“These cars were seized as ill-gotten gains,” and forfeited in the criminal cases, she said.
She said all three cars are operable and the defendant in the case once drove Ecto-1 in a Youngstown area parade. The cars were owned by Ryan P. Sheridan, 39, operator of Braking Point Recovery Center in the Youngstown and Columbus areas. He was sentenced in January to 7 1/2 years in prison for crimes related to health care fraud.
Although the cars were roped off, people climbed under to check them out. The theme song from “Ghostbusters” played and the car’s blue lights were flashing just minutes before the auction began.
Twelve other vehicles the marshals brought to be sold were auctioned before the three replica cars.
People who’d taken cover inside the large garage joined the crowd in front of the trailer to hear Auctioneer Vic Marinello call for bids.
Marinello opened the bidding, telling the crowd that the Batman car shoots fire.
Then it began.
“$135,000… $130… 165,000… $166,000 …$170… on the internet…” Marinello shouted.
In the end, the Batmobile went for $171,000.
Then, “Who ya gonna call?” Marinello asked.
The “Ghostbusters” car went for $200,000.
The DeLorean, for $111,000 - all to Bidder No. 3667.
About 870 people attended in person and online, said Dustin Rennie, Skipco sales manager. He did not have a breakdown of how many were in each group.
Only 120 people were allowed in the garage, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Many movie car enthusiasts showed up early to look at the cars.
Arek Helcberger, 37, of Lake County, said it had been a dream for him since the age of 8 to own the Ectomobile, more affectionately called Ecto-1 by “Ghostbusters” aficionados. He drove an hour and 20 minutes to see it.
Jim Hedges, owner of the Memory Lane Auto Museum in Galion, said he once owned the original “Ghostbusters” car and he now builds replicas of Speed Racer’s Mach 5. He drove an hour and a half to bid on the Batmobile and the DeLorean. He had hope to put the cars on display in his museum and, at some point, auction them again.
“You’ve always gotta have another crime-fighter vehicle around because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.
Charlie Tibbs of Columbia Station in Lorain County was interested in the DeLorean.
“Can’t have enough toys, right?” he said, smiling.
Mike Loeffler and his mother, Mary Loeffler, helped little Ethan Loeffler and sister Jamie Loeffler, 3, take the backpack-style Proton Packs from their backs before the children climbed into the Ectomobile.
Then their grandmother, Mary Loeffler, asked, “Who ya gonna call?”
The children gleefully yelled, “Ghostbusters” as they climbed into the car.