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Calguns LEOs LEOs; chat, kibitz and relax. Non-LEOs; have a questions for a cop? Ask it here, in a CIVIL manner.

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  #1  
Old 07-22-2012, 4:51 PM
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Default Possible stolen vehicle question

I have a question about making a stolen vehicle report for someone else's vehicle that was in my possession. I own an automotive fabrication business, one of my customers became involved in a lawsuit in October of last year. I would prefer not to discuss the details if I can avoid it because I do not know what the outcome will be. I am a witness in the case because I did business with the defendant and was interviewed by a detective of the Concord police. They believe me to be at no fault and running my business in a legal manner, and gave me suggestions on handling the situation. I was subpoenaed for records about the defendants vehicle and supplied them. I then had to fill out a declaration for the lawyers of the company suing. My understanding was that they where trying to seize some assets of the defendant (my customer) and the vehicle I had been working on is one of those assets. As I understand it, the defendant can not legally take possession of the vehicle, and neither can the lawyers. However they have not returned calls or emails since the end of May.

During this time, I have essentially been forced into storing the vehicle. I keep it inside my shop as often as I can. This past week I put it in the parking lot, as I needed the room to work on paying jobs. It was there when I left Thursday night, and this afternoon it was gone. It could have been taken anytime between Thursday night and Sunday morning. There is a moving container in the parking spot next to where the vehicle was, but that could belong to another tenant. I tried contacting the defendant with no success. I then called the local police department to ask if I could file a stolen vehicle report. The lady was very nice, and said only the registered owner could report it, and to contact him since it sounds like a civil suit. I then called the office of the lawyers and left a message explaining what I know at this point. I do not know if they have been successful in legally taking ownership of it.

I am trying to cover my butt to avoid this becoming my fault somehow. The vehicle was not in a drivable state, the majority of it is still stored inside my shop, including the engine and transmission. I am just worried that it may have been stolen, I feel like any of the parties involved would have contacted me before taking it, so I could assist in getting everything that belongs to the vehicle. My landlord has never had anything towed without giving a substantial warning, and never anything of mine. Usually only vehicles that sit in the parking lot for months on end.

I am wondering if there is anything else I can do? I know I wont hear from the lawyer's office until Monday, and I cannot ask the landlord until then either. I am just very worried about the situation. Sorry for such a long winded post.
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Old 07-22-2012, 4:57 PM
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Another thing to consider is the landlords have parking lot cameras and if they actually record I may be able to ask to see them. Assuming they didn't have it towed. It just seems unlikely they would do that. I have been renting from them for 5 years and maintain a good relationship with the landlord and property owners.
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Old 07-22-2012, 5:00 PM
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Nothing wrong with contacting the local PD to make a stolen vehicle report. You need to disclose all of the information you gave here along with the Concord PD Detective's information and as you said and who was forcing you to store it.

Maybe it was stolen, maybe not.

You should speak to a PD police supervisor (Sergeant), not a lady on the phone. If they don't take and actual 10851 report, you can have an incident report on it.

I would also contact the landlord and make sure they didn't have it towed. Contact the PD after you've exhausted all other possibilities.
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Old 07-22-2012, 5:01 PM
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Call the police station back and ask for the watch commander. Tell him the story and your concerns. He may be able to better assist you than a dispatcher.
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Old 07-22-2012, 5:15 PM
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If I were you, I'd also file a mechanics lien for storage fees.

If the car was entrusted to you, your in lawful possession. I don't see a reason why a 10851 reports was not taken. There is nothing that says you have to be the RO to report it stolen.

Sounds like a lazy dispatcher/desk clerk.
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Old 07-22-2012, 5:18 PM
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Thank you for the suggestions, I will contact the landlord tomorrow morning to find out if they had it towed. If not I will contact the PD again and try to file some kind of support.

If it got towed I guess I've got to go get it tomorrow and figure out how to fit it back inside.
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Old 07-22-2012, 5:23 PM
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Good to know Unit74. Maybe I should call back today.

I've thought about storage fees, but was told I can only start charging storage now. Not for the past 7 months, I would have had to give notice of storage fees when I received the subpoena.
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Old 07-22-2012, 5:55 PM
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I'd notify the owner, let him make the report, and assist the local police with any info they require.

This is a can of worms.
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  #9  
Old 07-22-2012, 7:06 PM
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It is most definitely a can of worms, and has been a burden on me and my business for some time.

I left a voicemail on the owner's cell phone with a brief explanation and asked him to return my call. I have no other way of contacting him. His address and place of work have changed due to the lawsuit.

I am hoping to find a resolution for all of this soon. But the current situation is alarming to me.
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Old 07-22-2012, 7:08 PM
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Thank you to everyone offering advice, this is very helpful to me and much appreciated.
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  #11  
Old 07-22-2012, 7:16 PM
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I can't seem to edit my post from my phone, but wanted to ad something I thought I mentioned in the first post. There are drag marks from the spot the vehicle was. They are a but sporadic so its hard to tell where it went. And to me it doesn't confirm any possibilities.
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2012, 9:19 AM
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Update for this morning. Landlord is not in the office, not answering phone. Called the towing place with a contract for the property. They told me if something was towed I need to contact the police department. I called the Windsor police (which is basically Sonoma county sheriff) and they told me they have no record of any vehicle towed from my place of business. I asked if I could file a stolen vehicle or incident report, he also told me only the registered owner can do that and to call the towing company back.

So I did, they checked both yards and their records from Thursday to Sunday and came up empty handed. He said it could have been towed by someone else, possibly police using another towing company, or that it was stolen.

I plan to call the police back with the suggestions from above and see what I can do.

I still cannot reach the owner.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2012, 12:52 PM
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I don't see why the PD won't take a report. It doesn't matter that you're not the RO. You were in possession of the vehicle when it was stolen. It's no different than if they had broken into your shop and stolen it.
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Old 07-23-2012, 3:04 PM
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Isn't it possible to file some sort of incident report basically just acknowledging that the vehicle disappeared and that you are unable to contact the owner? While it may not help bring the car back, it seems that it could potentially help you out if it somehow came up in court.
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Old 07-23-2012, 3:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit74 View Post
If I were you, I'd also file a mechanics lien for storage fees.

If the car was entrusted to you, your in lawful possession. I don't see a reason why a 10851 reports was not taken. There is nothing that says you have to be the RO to report it stolen.

Sounds like a lazy dispatcher/desk clerk.
Our policy is the registered owner has to report the vehicle stolen.
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Old 07-23-2012, 3:20 PM
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I think the biggest problem is that you keep talking to dispatchers. No disrespect meant but most dispatchers (as is evident by the one's you have been talking to) don't know that you don't have to be the owner to report it stolen. I think I have taken a few hundred on rental cars over the years, never once did I take the initial report from a company rep.
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Old 07-23-2012, 5:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BomarFab View Post
Good to know Unit74. Maybe I should call back today.

I've thought about storage fees, but was told I can only start charging storage now. Not for the past 7 months, I would have had to give notice of storage fees when I received the subpoena.
You can file a lien for whatever you want....wiping the dust of it, taking up space.... Whatever. File for all the back storage at...say..... Whatever the local tow yards charge. It's up to. The owner or court to decide what you rate at the end of the day.
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Old 07-24-2012, 9:20 AM
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Thank you guys. I am going to try today to at least file an incident report, I would like to have something in writing to help cover my butt if need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A-J View Post
I don't see why the PD won't take a report. It doesn't matter that you're not the RO. You were in possession of the vehicle when it was stolen. It's no different than if they had broken into your shop and stolen it.
This was basically my thinking, if a vehicle was stolen from inside my shop I feel like I would be able to make a report. But in that case my personal property would have been invaded, in this case the vehicle was on private property not owner/rented by me.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:32 AM
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At the Windsor police station waiting for an officer to take my report.

In other news, I talked to the landlord, she did not have it towed. She said it was there Friday night. She was nice enough to ask a few neighbors that worker Saturday and no one saw anything that day. They did say they saw some scrap guys looking at it Friday however.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:53 PM
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So they took down on record that I reported a crime, but need to talk to the registered owner to do anything more.
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Old 07-24-2012, 2:11 PM
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tell them
you know its your business but somebody else built it.
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  #22  
Old 07-25-2012, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripper View Post
tell them
you know its your business but somebody else built it.
Presidential pardon right there!
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:48 AM
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I would document everything to CYA. If that owner comes back and states the car WAS stolen and you did (or appeared to do) nothing, that can bite you. Write down EVERYTHING, times you tried to contact owner, names of dispatchers you spoke to and what they said-At LEAST you will have that to go off of.

By the way...A car without an engine and transmission STILL targeted for theft? Just curious, what kind or type of car? Classic, exotic?
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Old 07-25-2012, 1:05 PM
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The owner finally responded today, I asked him to contact the Windsor Police Department ASAP and report it stolen, as that is what they informed me to do. Have not heard if he did that yet, its been about 2 hours.

I will document everything I have done thus far. I have several witnesses that should be able to back me up if need be, but I hope it does not come to that.

The vehicle in question was a 1989 Dodge D50. Nothing special, but it had a lot of labor into it, and several thousand in parts on it. There is another several thousand in parts still inside the shop, that belong to the vehicle.

I removed some suspension components to essentially set the vehicle on the ground, thinking that would deter any theft over the weekend. Apparently not. There are drag marks on the pavement. My shop is in a good part of a good town, and apparently only a small trailer has been stolen from the parking lot in the last 9 years the business park has been here. I never expected this to happen.

The landlord said some of the neighbors saw scrap guys around late on a weeknight, and mid afternoon Saturday. Same ones, but they never saw them touch the vehicle. These guys come from out of town to pick up scrap, and have tried to steal radiators, axles, brake rotors and catalytic converters right in front of me before.
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Old 07-25-2012, 2:39 PM
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One of my neighbors just came over and told me he saw someone take it early Sunday morning. He said they parked in front of my shop with a trailer and a large dark blue truck, maybe Ford or Dodge. He said it didn't seem suspicious, since people load stuff on trailers here pretty often, so he didn't pay much attention. He did say the guy used a winch to get it on, and covered it with a black tarp and drove off.
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