Man to pay nearly $1K to retrieve stolen car

BOND HILL, OH (FOX19) - Imagine your car is stolen, then recovered but you have to pay to get it back. It's happening to one Bond Hill man and now the city is getting involved.

"I just got up to make a routine run like I do and I looked out back here and my car was gone," says Michael Clark.

Clark says he discovered his car stolen from his own driveway on March 14. Four days later police found it parked across town.

"Police impound told me they tried to get in touch with me when they found the car but I missed that call so it ended up getting towed," says Clark.

His car was towed to Russ Auto Body and Towing where it has sat for more than a month at a cost of $25 a day in addition to the $150 towing fee. Clark now has to pay $950 to get his stolen car out of storage

"They really don't have a choice. They have to have the vehicle towed and then they call us to tow the vehicle. We tow the vehicle into a secure lot and store it until the customer comes to pick up the vehicle," says Robert Russell, General Manager of Russ Auto Body and Towing.

Russell says the city could be liable if they leave a recovered vehicle wherever they find it so they contract his company and a few others to tow recovered stolen cars. He says his rates are set by the city and are the same as the Cincinnati city impound lot. Russell says because that lot is so full, the city has started contracted towing companies like his own to help with storage.

Now Vice Mayor David Mann is getting involved asking the city to waive Clark's fees and look at a new procedure to keep car theft victims from having to pay for towing and storage of their vehicles. It is an idea Russell says is noble but may not be practical.

"The city probably doesn't want to incur those costs. We obviously can't absorb those costs so I don't really know how practical that is," says Russell.

Clark just wants his car back and hopes the city will keep the same thing from happening to anyone else.

"I've been told that is a big problem in the city. I didn't know it was that big of a problem until it happened to me and it's a struggle. It's a struggle," says Clark.

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