but when we had a car “vanish” from my ex MIL’s house after she passed away I was referred to the Highway Patrol. They tracked it down, it was not operable cause it had been totaled in a wreck but they did prosecute the guy who took it and also investigated the salvage yard. Hope it works out for you.
Anthea, are you sure you are talking to the right jurisdiction? Okmulgee has multiple ones. It would be the area the truck was taken from. So it could be Okmulgee city police, Okmulgee county sheriff, possibly OK Highway Patrol, Creek Nation Light Horsemen, and if
he was far enough north, Tulsa County sheriff, or out toward one of the numerous small towns it would be their police dept. Jan who says yes folks in little bitty Okmulgee there truly are that many law enforcement agencies in OK.
This doesn’t sound legal at all. If he did NOTHING to the car, he can’t put a lien on it or sell it. If you can show that you’ve been trying to be in touch with him before he took action, I don’t see how he justified his actions.
to give me a quote on what it would cost to fix. He didn’t make any repairs, nor did he give me a quote on repairs (one of the reasons I was calling him to find out). According to the Sheriff, its not theft – however, I don’t think he wanted to be involved.
(only reason I spoke with him is because the owner of the property he rents from gave him the phone!), he sold it for SALVAGE.
According to the tag office, I should have received a Title 42 mailed to me before ANY action was taken – and I didn’t.
What gets me is that the mechanic did NOT make any repairs. And he failed to respond to ANY of my phone calls over a 2 month period.
How did the mechanic come to be in possession of the vehicle? There does seem to be a point where the mechanic can say that you haven’t paid for the repairs performed so they can sell the vehicle for the cost of the repairs. (Same thing a dry cleaner can say if you don’t go back and pick up your cleaned clothes). However if he didn’t perform any repairs – don’t know that this would apply.
As far as the sheriff – if you swear out a warrant on the mechanic, his office is duty bound to serve the warrant. You can serve a warrant on anyone for almost any reason – theft is a valid reason, so he’s wrong in saying that its a civil/criminal matter. The courts decide that, not the sheriff, generally in terms of monetary value. As someone else said, he’s not going to go open an investigation because no one was shot/killed/physically brutalized. Theft of the automobile would be another matter for the sheriff to take immediate action on, but since you left the vehicle with the mechanic-I would pursue that avenue, just the value of the vehicle/gains from the sale of the vehicle.
By his response, the sheriff has already given you some really important information. If the sheriff said this is a civil matter, then that means NO LAWS WERE BROKEN. That means Mr. Mechanic didn’t do anything wrong as the law interprets the situation. You have a lot more “burden of proof” against you if this goes to civil court. This is what I was trying to explain earlier. While there are things that coulda/shoulda/woulda been done differently in this situation to keep everyone happy, apparently the sheriff has already concluded that Mr. Mechanic was within his rights as determined by local, county and/or state law. So if you took this to civil court, you’d have to prove you were harmed by his following the law, and/or that he had malicious intent. My knowledge of civil court decisions falls off in a big hurry, and an attorney would be better able to advise you. But you’ve already got two strikes against you on this one – the truck wasn’t important enough to make the effort to go check on it, and no laws were broken. As I understand civil law, you’re really going to have to work at it to claim damages after the fact. Yes, this could have been handled a lot better than it was, but he followed the law. That’s all he HAD to do. With him as defendant and you as plaintiff, get ready to spend a lot more on this than the truck was probably worth.
We have a friend named Althea and I was emailing her just a little while ago. That “l” slipped in there instead of the “n” and I didn’t notice. Anyway, sorry that you lost the truck Anthea. I hope you’re able to find another one, for less $$ than what it would have cost to get your old one up and running again. I know how that situation goes. I don’t chalk it up to being stupid, but rather probably being very busy and not being aware that a parked vehicle turns into someone else’s property after X amount of time…
The mechanic sold the truck because he thought it had been abandoned. That’s a legal definition with legal timeframes and it’s all spelled out in local municipal code. If a vehicle has been parked for X amount of time, and no contact has come from the owner, the person who owns or rents the property upon which it’s parked is allowed (and sometimes required) to declare that vehicle abandoned and either sell it or have it towed away for scrap.
We’ve had that happen three times in my adult life for various reasons. Time #1 was when we parked my little Honda on the street at my then FIL’s house in suburban Denver while my then DH was deployed with the Navy. It didn’t run at the time and we had hopes to restore it. But we were out of state and the X amount of time for that particular city had come and gone, and one day my FIL got a notice from the city that either he had to have it removed or the city would tow it at his expense. So he did. That was our lesson that a car can’t simply be parked on a city street indefinitely.
Time #2 was when I was living in Billings MT and someone abandoned their car out front of my house. It either died on the street and happened to roll to a stop there, or they parked it and couldn’t get it going again. At which point they walked away and never came back. We contacted the police who said that after X days (I think it was 30 days) we had the right to have it towed, and after 60 days we HAD to have it towed. So we did.
Time #3 was when we bought our current farmland. The tenants here had a number of old vehicles parked on the property for restoration which was never completed. They had six months to remove the vehicles and removed two of them, but left a third. After a period of time, I don’t remember how long, the sheriff told us the truck was by definition abandoned and was ours to do with as we saw fit.
So this isn’t a case of a mean mechanic. He may have been required to get rid of that truck, and Althea simply didn’t know. Hopefully not a really expensive lesson, but one that we should all keep in mind.
I think I mentioned that I needed to put a new motor in the farm truck – well, I finally got hold of the mechanic only to find out he thought it was abandoned and had sent it out to salvage 🙁
Being a silver linings gal, I’m figuring that I’d have spent the same amount on getting a different engine and having it installed as well as 2 new fuel tanks as it will cost me to hopefully find an older diesel vehicle in decent running condition.
So I’m not sure if this is a Murphy or Millie moment, except that I’m extremely aggravated with myself.