RICHMOND, Va. – A local veteran whose stolen truck was found by police and towed to a garage discovered that he may be able to challenge the bill from Capital Towing.
Vietnam veteran E.H. Thompson said last March when he stepped away from his truck at this Broad Street Lowe's, he had no clue a fast acting criminal was lurking.
“I was no more than 35 feet away from the truck,” Thompson said. “I was loading materials, when I turned my back the truck was gone.”
It wasn’t until recently that he discovered the truck had actually been recovered. He found out when he received a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles that it was going to be sold.
“I'd like to walk into Capital Towing, take my keys and drive my truck off simple -- as that,” Thompson said.
He can’t afford the $1,295 bill he found out is owed. And it looks like he shouldn’t have to pay it, according to state code.
“I think it's stupid,” Thompson said. “Something is wrong with the system.”
Richmond Police said the city's Department of Emergency Communications should have contacted Thompson. They said they did, once, but no contact or follow-up was made.
In Chesterfield and Henrico Counties, officers routinely give notice to victims. In Henrico, if the victim is not reached within 72 hours they send a certified letter.
CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said that's exactly what Virginia law requires.
“The statute says that when someone has a car stolen from them, when it is recovered, the government is required to send a notice by mail with a return receipt,” said CBS 6 analyst Todd Stone. “The victim of the theft has to pick up the car in five days and if they do there are no costs or expenses.”
Stone said that if it takes longer than five days and the victim has to pay, then he or she can seek reimbursement from the state treasurer.
A city spokesperson said they will turn Thompson's situation over to the legal department. The tow company said they are willing to reduce Mr. Thompson's bill to $650 and he said that is nice, but he thinks he is on the right side of the law and shouldn't have to pay.
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