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Woman charged hefty fine to get back her stolen car

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 08:57:12-05

TOOELE, Utah - A Tooele woman said she had to pay a hefty bill to get her car back after it was stolen over the weekend.

Police and the towing company said that's because they were following policy and state law when the stolen vehicle was found and recovered.

It's a policy that many might not know about, but the situation could happen to anyone.

Andrea Igloe didn't expect to find her car missing after bible study Saturday evening from her church on Main Street in Tooele.

"I just walked outside and it was gone," she said.

The car was locked and she had the keys. She said the car thief or thieves had to break in, then jump start the vehicle.

Her Honda Civic, she explained, is her family's only mode of transportation.

She made a police report, and thankfully around 12:30 a.m. Sunday she said police called her to say they found her car-- clear out in Salt Lake City.

They asked if she could come pick it up.

"I said, 'Sure.' And I tried to arrange for ride, I couldn't find a ride," Igloe explained.

After offering to use her AAA membership to tow the car, she said officers explained that they would need to tow it instead.

"They said it was going to be a state impound, and I said, 'Is that going to be expensive?' And he said, 'Yes, you're looking at about $702,'" she said.

That's $702 just to get her own car back.

"I was dumbfounded," Igloe said. "I didn't think it was fair that I was going to have to pay money for something that I didn't even do."

Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilking said there's a process to follow when police recover stolen cars, and a victim paying to get their car back can be part of the process.

"It's an unfortunate cost of the process," Wilking said.

Wilking said it happens when a vehicle owner isn't able to come pick up their stolen car right after it's found. He said police need to make sure nothing else happens to the car.

"We have to ensure that vehicle's safety, so we end up having to impound it," he said.

They've seen situations where a car was stolen a second time, he said, after officers left it on the street for the owner to pick up. That's why they don't take their chances.

Tow truck companies like AMR Auto Repair and Towing said part of the reason behind the fees for these kinds of recoveries, comes down to following state law.

"The state sets the fees," AMR Towing manager Julie Winder said. "The tow fee is $156, storage fee is $40 a day."

In Igloe's case, she said the DMV thankfully waived the state fees, but she still ended up paying a few hundreds dollars.

"Ended up having to pay almost $300, for the towing fees," she said.

While Igloe said she's thankful police quickly found her car, she didn't want to have to pay hundreds to get it back.

"All the trouble that I had to go through just to get it back, was ridiculous," she said.

Detective Wilking said if someone's car is stolen, the best way to avoid paying fees is to pick it up as soon as it's found.

He suggested using a Club steering wheel lock or kill switch to prevent car thefts in the first place-- a piece of advice Igloe said she plans to follow from here on out.