Theft victims pay to get vehicles back in some St. Louis communi - KMOV.com

Theft victims pay to get vehicles back in some St. Louis communities

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Victims of crimes have to pay police and city governments to get their own property back in some St. Louis communities.

Take the case of Jewell Washington, a loyal and loving mother. When her family hurts, she hurts. She could tell her son, Carlos, was hurting when he called panicked a few weeks back.

“He just said mama, mama,” Washington said. “They just jumped in and they just took off.”

Washington is talking about the night of Jan. 3.That's when her son's Dodge Avenger was stolen from a gas station on Chambers Road in Dellwood.
The car was recovered a day later outside the Ferguson market. Little did she know that's when the real trouble would starts.

“The police came and said they were going to take the car to Ferguson Supercenter for processing,” Washington said.
When she went to pick the car up she was told she'd have to pay $130 to get it back.

"$130 dollars for what?” Washington asked.  “He said for storage and towing. I said ‘for storage and towing?’ My car was stolen. Why should I have to pay that?"

A representative for the City of Ferguson turned down News 4’s request for an interview, but said Ferguson police followed policy by towing the car for processing. Since the car was stolen in Dellwood, the case was investigated by St. Louis County Police. A spokesperson for the SLCPD says Ferguson handled things properly.

Ferguson officials said they sympathize with Washington over the financial burden this situation caused, but note the City of Ferguson has no financial responsibility to pay her recovery cost.

Washington just says, right or wrong, she wants her money back.

“I want my $130 dollars back,” Washington said. “That's the bottom line.”

It just doesn't seem fair that a crime victim to should to pay to recover their stolen property. After some back and forth with the City of Ferguson, a representative told News 4 that officials reached out to the towing company to request some consideration in Washington’s case.

The city also made it clear this was only done as a courtesy, not a sign of any obligation.        

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