The Subtle Joys of Recovering Stolen Cars in NYC

I just got this email from a friend/co-worker this morning. His boyfriend Nick’s car was stolen from Park Slope, Brooklyn, and ended up in the Bronx. Here’s the deal:

"Nick’s stolen car was recovered in the Bronx a few days ago. We received a message on our machine last night from the police telling us that we need to come to the Bronx and pay a $50 towing fee as well as a $10 per day charge starting yesterday!

So Nick called this morning, got all the information needed to come get the car, and then in passing asked the car’s condition.

“Hold on a sec… Well let’s see here…the dash is missing…no engine, no transmission, no headlights, no grill…”

So what do we do now you ask? On Monday he has to go to the Bronx, pay the fee to have this SHELL of a CAR released and THEN pay an auto wrecking company to dispose of the car. Nice, huh? It would have been better if they hadn’t recovered it! Unbelievable!"

What he forgot to add here but told me later was that they are required to pay the daily fee even for days that the place is closed, i.e. the weekend. He thinks they do this because you’re supposed to come right after notification. Well unfortunately, they were notified last night, and would have had to skip work today, which wasn’t possible.

I know the recovery agency needs to pay towing fees somehow, but I really feel for this guy. Any other recovered stolen car experiences in big cities?


-Ugh! What’s that smell?

-Well, it looks like some vagrant may have spent the night in it, or maybe used it as a toilet and moved on.



If there is nothing to recover why bother to get it out of storage. Have your friend take the title for the car down to the tow/storage company and give it to them. The storage co. can then sell it to the recyclers.

My mate had his car lifted from outside our house the other week and taken on a joy ride. My mates brother came to inspect the damage after the car was towed to a garage and take his personal stuff out of the car, including a not inexpensive Maglite torch from under the drivers seat. Obviously not realising he was the drivers brother, a mechanic saw him removing the torch and said “oh I missed that.” Even though the car was far from a write off the mechanic was kind enough to rifle through it for anything worth taking!

So the city has gone out of its way to help your friend feel less like a victim! Sheeesh!

Something similar was enacted in Law & Order’s Wednesday episode: There were some stolen goods in a car and when they traced the radio to the owner he said the cops had come by six months earlier with a door. “At this rate,” he opined, “I should have my whole car back in, oh, seven years!”.

Pluto: I have heard that NYC has a pretty good record for finding stolen cars. It’s just frustrating to have to have your car found, to find out most of it is missing/damaged, and then to have to pay for the towing and the final destroying. My friend would have preferred the car not having been found at all. [I hope I read your comment correctly…]

Pushkin - that’s funny. Reminds me of the time where the umbrellas were stolen out of the front pouches on our suitcases during a flight to Europe. Perhaps they were being kept for safegarding during the trip. Or to protect the plane from all the cloud mist.

bare - thanks, I passed that advice along to him.

Maeglin - how did I guess you’d post that? :slight_smile:

My ex-girlfriend had gotten a ride to Pittsburg from Albany with a friend, and I drove up to Pittsburg to pick her up and drive her the rest of the way to Ohio for a week. Anyways, the group of us walked to a nearby Japanese resturaunt for dinner. When we returned, the friends car had been stolen, so he called the police and reported it missing. About an hour later, the police called back and informed him that the car had been stolen and used in a driveby shooting. It would be a little while before he could get the car back, thank you.
Amazingly, he got it back before he had to drive back to Albany a week later.