DENVER — In most cases, if your stolen car is found, that's a good thing. But Contact Denver7 has repeatedly heard from crime victims who had to pay hundreds to impound lots to get a stolen car back.
Trionna Hayes says calling Arapahoe County deputies after someone stole her Jeep did not help her at all. If anything, she says it hurt her.
"They actually found it three days after it was stolen, but they didn't call me," Hayes said. "There was really no point in filing the police report. It would have been better to put up fliers and say, 'Have you seen my vehicle?' and have somebody text me. I would have gone to go get it"
Hayes says by the time she found out her car had been found, the impound fee was almost $900.
"It was ridiculous to me," she said. "It was stolen from me illegally. Now it's being legally stolen from me via the tow truck."
Contact Denver7 has heard from several crime victims facing hundreds of dollars in impound charges they can't afford.
"It's not our fault. Somebody steals it, and then you got to pay for it? Doesn't make sense," said Alan Chubb, a Commerce City small business owner whose stolen box truck was recovered but is still in impound with hundreds of dollars in storage fees. "I didn't have the cash at the time."
Rep. Tom Sullivan has previously proposed a statewide crime victims impound fund, similar to those in some other states. The COVID-19 pandemic killed the first effort. He says money is killing the next.
"The victims, they don't have a lobby group," said Sullivan. "If something costs money, you have to find out how to pay for it."
He says the proposal will probably not make it through this legislative session, so the solution must come from somewhere else.
"We would need some kind of an entrepreneur, or we would need some kind of philanthropic group who says, you know, I'm tired of this," Sullivan said. "Because in the meantime, you've got people suffering."
Hayes could not afford $900 in impound fees and was forced to give up her Jeep.
"I didn't have it," she said. "If I had it, I would have paid it."
Hayes reached out to Contact Denver7, she says, to expose a system set up to re-victimize victims.
"At least when it was stolen by a random person, I could have been angry at that and that was a crime," she said. "Now, I'm just mad. I'm just upset, and there's nothing I can do about it."
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