MEMPHIS, Tenn (localmemphis.com) - She was a victim of a crime and then received a bill for restitution from the City of Memphis.
Nakeitha Becton's car was stolen over last weekend by a suspect who used the vehicle to rob women. As Local 24 reported, both the car and the suspect were found Wednesday in Parkway Village. The vehicle was towed to the police departments impound lot. Becton thought she had to pay the bill until the Local I-Team got involved.
For anyone wanting their car back from MPD's impound lot you better be prepared to fork over nearly $200. That was the case for Miss Becton. She even got a letter from the city outlining the fees. She told the Local I-Team no victim of a crime should have to pay.
"I got my car taken. That was punishment enough," said 25-year-old Nakeitha Becton. "Everything was in it, that's it, it's gone. Now I must get it back, get it fixed. He wrecked my car."
Not only is Becton the victim in this case but as of Friday morning she was sitting with what she thought would be an unfair bill to get her 2012 Silver Honda Accord back.
According to Memphis Police, a 17-year-old stole Becton's car Saturday and used it to rob women across the city.
"That is not my fault. That is not my liability," she said. "That's not against me. That's not me. He did it."
The Local I-Team made calls and sent emails to the city about its impound policy and a possible appeal. After our interview Nakeither said she got a call from the impound lot. The person told her that her car was ready for pickup.
"It came out of nowhere," she said "I'm kind of still shocked."
Nakeither told the Local I-team she thought she was going to have to pay the entire bill at the beginning of the day.
"I thought I had to pay the whole entire thing," she said. "Maybe a little more."
When she went to pick up her vehicle she was told she would only have to pay a $10 administrative fee and that it had to be cash. After another phone call, this time by the police department, Nakeitha was told everything had been waived.
"I feel relieved that there is some good people," she said.
But other people like Fred Buford, who said they too are victims of car theft feel the impound lot policy is against them.
"They stole my car," said Buford. "They left me on empty. I don't get it man. I just want to get my car and get on my way. This world is just ain't nobody here to help you."
Buford told the Local I-Team he paid the fees.
We did some digging and found out more about the impound process and release of vehicles.
A letter obtained by the Local I-Team states:
To obtain release of the vehicle, you must present, in person, proof of ownership to the City of Memphis Vehicle Storage Lot. The following fees apply:
Towing Charge: $125 (Class A Wrecker)
Storage Fee(s): $30 per day
Administrative Fee: $10
Note: Fees and/or services that require a Class B or Class C wrecker are more costly and differ by case.
To challenge the impoundment, you may contact the Facility Manager or Auction Supervisor, City of Memphis Vehicle Storage Lot, 465 Klinke Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38127, (901-636-8200, between 8:00 a.m. And 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday, to request a hearing at which time you may present evidence in your own behalf or through a representative.
If you have sold or traded this vehicle, you must furnish the City of Memphis Vehicle Storage Lot with the name and address of the new owner.
If the vehicle has a Lien Holder, you must furnish to the City of Memphis Vehicle Storage Lot the Lien Holder's name and address for them to be notified that the vehicle has been impounded.
If your vehicle has been stolen and you have made a verified Mother Vehicle Theft Report, you are granted a (5) five-day grace period to claim your vehicle and pay restitution for towing and administrative fees. If the grace period is exceeded, then the storage fee will be retroactive to the date of impoundment and/or Investigative Hold Release.
All Vehicles left over thirty (30) days will be sold at public auction.