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Indianapolis man owes hundreds after stolen car recovered then impounded

Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 23:20:05-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- If police recover your stolen car, should you have to pay to get it back? A south side man is finding out the answer the hard way. 

Benjamin Gorski’s truck is sitting in IMPD’s impoundment lot— racking up hundreds of dollars he told RTV6 he couldn’t afford to pay— and shouldn’t have to. 

“IMPD said if they found it when it was finally recovered, that they would call me and if i was able to, I would go to where it was found and drive it away,” explained Gorski. “That didn’t happen.”

Gorski was ecstatic to learn on October 12 that police had found his Ford F250 pickup, abandoned at Beech Meadow Apartment less than seven miles away from where it was stolen outside his home. 

“I was surprised that they found it!” 

But the relief proved short-lived once he called IMPD’s auto desk. 

“They told me it was going to cost $200 to get it out at that time,” Gorski said. 

That's because police had his truck towed from where they found it — meaning Gorski has to pay to get it back. 

“We live month-to-month. We don’t have any money until the first of the month. Every day that (my truck) sits there is another $30. Today it’s up to $350.”

Gorski is disabled, living on social security and unable to come up with the money. RTV6 asked police about the case. Public Affairs Sergeant James Gillespie said IMPD tries to call the owners of stolen cars when they are recovered so the owners can pick them up themselves. 

“(The officers) didn’t know the truck was stolen until it got to the IMPD impound yard,” Gorski said. 

Below is the full statement from IMPD:

When a resident’s vehicle is stolen, IMPD makes a reasonable effort to contact the vehicle owner to arrange for the vehicle to be picked up on scene of the recovery, if possible. If no contact can be made with the owner, or if the vehicle cannot be picked up on scene, a contract vendor tows and stores the vehicle and the officer notifies the Auto Desk of a stolen vehicle recovery. Any fees and storage costs for the vehicle are charged by the vendor.

The Auto Desk will continue to attempt to contact the owner by phone three times a shift over all three shifts for three consecutive days.  On the fourth day, the Auto Desk requests an officer to be dispatched to make an in-person notification. In this instance, the Auto Desk recorded a successful contact with the owner on the first phone attempt on October 12th.

The fees charged by the towing vendor are sometimes covered by insurance policies – we encourage residents to contact their insurance providers to verify their coverage. Residents in need of financial assistance are encouraged to call Connect2Help by dialing 2-1-1.

IMPD pointed out that some insurance policies will cover fees charged by the tow company— but that does not do Gorski any good. 

“Not having even any way to go get it now, what do you do?”