Man not told his stolen car was recovered in 2017, charged $8,000

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Chris Becker of Hamtramck thought his stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee taken outside his home in June, 20017 would turn up in a couple of weeks.

"There's nothing you can do. It's just out of your hands," Becker said. "It's just ridiculous, I think someone should be held accountable for this.

"(After) no one called me, I bought a new car and kind of cut my losses."

But it turns out, it has been sitting at Michigan Auto Recovery in northwest Detroit for more than 17 of those months.
FOX 2: "Do you see it?"

"I think so, it's behind some other cars," Becker said. "Looks like the windows are down."

Becker's Jeep was found a month later but Becker was never notified until Dec. 28, just over two weeks ago with a belated Christmas present.

"They told me I owed $8,000 on it," he said.

And there is another problem.
"They say you've got 20 days after they notify you before it gets auctioned, it's been 19 days," he said. 

FOX 2: "So you need to come up with $8,000 in 20 days?"

"Yes," Becker said.

Becker says he left three messages with Detroit's abandoned vehicle task force and never heard back. Then he saw the same issue happen to Andrew Carter a few months ago.

Another Detroiter dealt with the same issue when his car stolen in October of 2014 and recovered the next day. But Carter did not learn it had been found until two years later when it racked up more than $11,000 in impound fees.

"I've never heard of anyone getting their car back," said Carter. "It gave me a little bit of hope."

In Carter's case, Detroit police say information had been entered incorrectly and both police and the towing company waived all of his fees.

But in Becker's case the owner of Michigan Auto Recovery for 34 years, Gregory Errigo says that while working for DPD: "We got his car on July 25, 2017."

They simply tow and store the cars they're asked to. 

"Detroit Police Department are responsible for notifying people," he said.

Errigo also says he's contacted police four times to send the car to auction but has now placed a hold on it after talking with Becker.

"We can help him too, we're all on the same team," he said.

Police have admitted the mistake and on Monday afternoon launched an investigation while slicing that fee to just $215.