In this weeks Troubleshooters report, a Wilmington woman whose car was towed from her apartment complex. Police initially thought the car had been stolen, but two weeks after it went missing, investigators realized it had actually been towed.
Not having a car has turned Trinita Hampton's world upside down. "I've missed work, I had to inform my job that I didn't have any reliable way to get back and forth to work. Two boys to raise, so it's been an inconvenience.”
Her car disappeared May 15th, and she immediately called Wilmington Police. They checked to make sure the car hadn't been towed, and when they didn't see it on their tow list, police reported it stolen. “On the 27th, that's when I got a call from the Wilmington Police Department, saying my car had actually been towed by Rosaks," Hampton explained.
By that point, the car had been in storage for almost two weeks, and the bill to get it back was $400. Hampton couldn't afford it, and couldn't understand why it had been towed in the first place, since it was parked right outside of her apartment. Turns out, the tag on her car was expired, and the lease at Greentree Apartments gave Rosak's towing the OK to tow any vehicle with improper tags.
Wilmington Police Inspector Eltaruas Bluford says it's not unusual for apartment complexes to have a policy like that. "They don't want to create a situation where they have abandoned vehicles, a vehicle that sits for a long period of time, tires deflated, you know, most apartment complexes want to keep their appearances up,” he said.
Rosaks towing owner, Robert Rosak, says his crews put stickers on cars before they're towed, to give the owner a chance to move it or fix the issue in question. "If you have flat tires or your tags don't match, or they are expired, please move the vehicle when we put a sticker on it, or call the office and let them know your financial situation,” Rosak advised. “If you can't get the money to go ahead and get the tags on the car - or get the car repaired or whatever, they'll work with you, if you'll at least call the office and let them know.”
Hampton says she never saw the sticker, and it appears a mix-up with the VIN number is why her car didn't show up on the WPD's tow list. Because of the mix-up, and the police department's delay notifying Hampton that her car had been towed, not stolen, Rosak’s has agreed to cut her a break. Thanks to the discounted price, Hampton should be able to get her car back later this week.