Hidden costs of recovering stolen vehicles

Hidden cost to recover stolen vehicles

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock is the No. 1 city in Texas for auto thefts and just a few weeks ago, one Lubbock couple learned that firsthand.

"All the emotions of it being gone to it being found but wait," said Pamela Parker, wife of Eric Parker, the owner of the stolen motorcycle.

Parker says her husband received a phone call around 6 p.m., but didn't answer because he was working. The next morning he called to find out that the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office had recovered his motorcycle.

"Being at work he didn't think about it until the next morning," Parker explained. "He was listening to his voicemail and happy day… Nobody expects when anything is stolen that they're going to recover it, but here they give us the news 'we found your motorcycle.'"

After making a few phone calls, Eric found that his motorcycle had been towed. A couple days later, the price to get the motorcycle back was $350, after they talked the wrecker service down from over $500.

"It's perfectly lawful for the police department to use a private towing company to assist them in recovering and towing vehicles and putting them into a storage lot for safe keeping," said Lubbock attorney Fernando Bustos. "So, that's perfectly within the law."

Bustos explained that police department, and in this case the Sheriff's Office, don't have the resources to have a separate division dedicated to impounded vehicles.

The motorcycle was towed to a wrecker service in Idalou that the Sheriff's Office has a rotating contract with. The cost to tow it there was $5 per mile.

Bustos says if the suspect is caught and convicted, they could get those towing expenses reimbursed.

"If the criminal is prosecuted, the court can order that the criminal pays for those towing fees as part of the criminal judgment," Bustos said.

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