Cuba man learns of stolen car recovery weeks after theft


by Staff

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 9:58 PM

 (KMOV) – A Cuba, Missouri man though getting his car stolen would be the worst part but it was just the beginning of a costly nightmare that left his car abandoned in a tow lot without his knowledge.

On August 4, Dennis Copling’s 1998 Ford Contour was stolen so he filed a police report with the Cuba Police Department.

A few hours later, the car was found in Sullivan.

“It was stolen on the 4th of August and recovered the same day, but we don’t this in the mail until the 22nd,” said Copling.

By this, he meant a letter from Chucks Towing Company in Sullivan, saying they were going to apply for a title which led him to contact the company.

Turns out, his car had been sitting on the Chuck’s lot for several weeks, racking up more than $1,200 in daily storage fees.

Copling said no one ever told him the car was found so he called News 4’s Chris Nagus to investigate.

Nagus contacted the Cuba Police Department to see what happened.

Mike Sherman said “I think somewhere along the lines some miscommunication may have occurred between agencies.”

He said that his agency asked Sullivan if they wanted to process the car for evidence and if they wanted to contact Copling.

Lt. Patrick Johnson with the Sullivan Police Department told Nagus his officers tried calling but could not get through.

He added that his officers relayed that message back to Cuba authorities.

With both police agencies thinking the other agency was handling the case; Nagus went back to the tow lot in an attempt to save Copling money.

Chuck offered to cut down the $1,200 tow bill by half. Nagus went back to Copling asking “He’s willing to cut that to $6,000 is that something you can swing?”

Copling said the car is only worth a few hundred dollars which means he would lose his car to Chuck.

Had he found out his car was found on day one, he would have been out just over $100.

Bottom Line: If you report your car stolen, check in with police because you may not get the call.

In Missouri, tow companies can apply for the title to your car if it sits on their lot more than 30 days but they must prove they tried to contact you via certified mail and a signature must be legible.