Criminal Law/stolen property
I live in a small town (13,000) in the middle of MO with what looks to be a corrupt police department. My friend/roommate had his 4wheeler stolen a few weeks ago in the middle of the night. When we figured out what had happened we called it in. A cop came to the house took our statement and told us they chased whoever stole it and they recovered the 4wheeler but the person got away.
A little back story on the 4wheeler. It was stolen about a year ago in Baltimore where we are originally from. The people who stole it scratched off the vin #, we were able to get it back because of the engine #.
This most recent time it was stolen we went to the station to try and get it back and that's when we ran into a few problems. First, the detective was trying to say that it wasn't stolen and that one of us had taken it which is absolutely ludicrous. Secondly, he's saying there is a towing fee we would have to pay even though we were the victim. Lastly and most ridiculous, he is saying there's no way to identify it without the vin # even though we can name every key on the key ring (we leave the keys in it in our garage, stupid I know), can describe in detail every scratch or broken piece on it and can even tell him what type of tires are on it.
So we played along in his little game and got the police report from Baltimore with the engine # and the fact that the vin had been scratched off. We called him multiple times with this info, left messages, but we never got a call back. We finally were able to get a hold of his boss and he told us that we would have to go through the court system and get a lawyer to try and get it back.
We didn't have the money for the b.s. towing fee let alone a lawyer. Our thought is that the P.D. saw that it had no vin # and they are trying to cheat us for it.
If you could give us your opinion on the situation and how we should handle it it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
My suggestion would be to contact the District Attorney's Office in your County. Many times vehicles and items that have been "seized" or "recovered" are controlled by the DA's Office as the municipal police departments in the County usually turn over those items and the DA then petitions FEDGOV to auction them off or incorporate them into use. It appears that because the ATV has no VIN plate, etc. that it is a State and possible Federal violation. You have the Baltimore Police Department report to back up your claim. I would search for purchase documents as well and petition the DA for release. The more proof you have the stronger your standing will be. Last course of action would be to hire an attorney to petition through the court system. That is a very slow process. Try the direct route first.