KCBD Investigates: Walk away with a new car and a new identity - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD Investigates: Walk away with a new car and a new identity

Some vehicles are full of valuables and personal information Some vehicles are full of valuables and personal information
LPD car auction at Lubbock Wrecker LPD car auction at Lubbock Wrecker
LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) -

The Lubbock Police Department says it auctions off about 130 abandoned vehicles a month.

Lubbock Police Lieutenant Ray Mendoza said often times, previous owners never come back to clean out their vehicles.

Since no one else is allowed inside until it is sold at auction, those buyers are often walking away with much more than a new vehicle.

"It is amazing sometimes what they leave inside," said Tim Benham, who owns Peace of Mind Auto Center.

Benham said he has found credit cards, driver's licenses, and mail from people's finance companies.

He said consider yourself lucky if he buys your vehicle.

"We have a burn pit. I guess that is good for them. The information that is in the cars that I get, I burn," Benham said.

Lt. Mendoza said it's not just personal information that is left behind in vehicles.

"We've heard that people find $500 for example inside the car that they probably just paid $4,200 for. It's some crazy stuff," Lt. Mendoza said.

He said the police department sends letters to the owners of the vehicles before they go to auction, but many times no one comes to claim their belongings.

They also make sure the vehicles have not been reported as stolen.

"We are not going to touch the car. Whatever is in the vehicle belongs to the new owner," Lt. Mendoza said.

Jamie Pruett said he comes to about 12 car auctions a year and is always amazed at what he finds.

"Everything from baby bags, car seats, panties, socks, bras, DVDs,car stereos, kitchen sinks, tool boxes - we'll find debit cards," Benham said.

Benham said he sells what he can and throws away the personal information he finds.

"I found the title to this vehicle in this truck," Benham said.

We asked Benham if he thought it would be easy for people who are not as honest as he is to take advantage of the personal information left behind.

"You bet, you bet," Benham said.

PREVIOUS STORY: Salvage yards serving as treasure mines for identity thieves

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • GOP struggles to salvage immigration bill, postpones vote

    GOP struggles to salvage immigration bill, postpones vote

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:41 AM EDT2018-06-21 04:41:36 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:06 AM EDT2018-06-23 04:06:28 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks following a closed-door conference with fellow Rep...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks following a closed-door conference with fellow Rep...

    An ambitious House GOP immigration overhaul is teetering ahead of voting.

    An ambitious House GOP immigration overhaul is teetering ahead of voting.

  • In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:21 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:21:21 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:06 AM EDT2018-06-23 04:06:20 GMT
    A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

  • Trump defends his hard-line immigration policies to cheers

    Trump defends his hard-line immigration policies to cheers

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:21 AM EDT2018-06-21 04:21:49 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:06 AM EDT2018-06-23 04:06:08 GMT
    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn., Wednesday, June 20, 2018.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh). President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn., Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

    Drawing cheers at a rally, Trump defended his hard-line immigration policies just hours after backing off efforts to separate immigrant families.

    Drawing cheers at a rally, Trump defended his hard-line immigration policies just hours after backing off efforts to separate immigrant families.

Powered by Frankly