Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Help Me Howard: Stolen Trailer
Your property is stolen you then find it and call the police, so you get it back right? Not for one South Florida man who is being told he cant have it back, Why? Lets bring in Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- In America we like to build things, but of course to build sometimes you first have to demolish.
Tony Stern: "We tear down buildings. We gut out interiors of buildings cut to anything to do with demolition."
Tony stern has been in the demolition business for 20 years.
Tony Stern: "There is a technique to it."
Tony has the skill and the equipment to do it well till the occassional thief comes along.
Tony Stern: "I came to the shop to open up and I realized that the trailer that tows my equipment was missing."
That was three years ago. Then a few weeks ago, Tony spotted the trailer in Miami Beach at a construction site.
Tony Stern: "110 percent sure no question about it they didnt change anything about the trailer. They didnt take any stickers off."
Tony could have hooked up the trailer and driven off, but he wanted to do the right thing and called Miami Beach Police. They had the trailer towed and told Tony to come prove it was his.
Tony Stern: "I brought all the the documentation to the police department to help them expidiate the case, so it wasnt going to cost me more money than the trailer is worth to get it out of the impound lot."
Tony even had a picure of his Corvette on the trailer. He showed police where he had cut the front of the trailer and where the markings were, but they would give it back to him.
Tony Stern: "Nobody was murdered on the trailer so maybe its not a priority to them, but its priority to me and I already been a victim once so I dont see why the bad guy should win this time."
So Tony called Help me Howard to what he had to do to get his trailer back aand if he had to pay the mounting storage fees.
Howard Finkelstein: "If he can prove thats his trailer not just with the bill of sale, but with indisputable identification such as a vin number, he can take possession. Unfortunately, he has to pay the storage fees that have accumulated."
Give Miami Beach Police credit. After we called they met Tony at the lot and thats where they pointed out the problem to him. The thieves who stole his trailer filed off the vin number that would prove Tony owned it. Tony called the manufactor who told him another spot where the ID number was hidden on the trailer.
Tony Stern: "We looked all over. We looked where the tow master company told us it would be and we didnt find it."
Without the vin number the officer could not release the trailer. I then called the city attornies office. They explained that because the vin number was removed the trailer was considered contraband. That they would be committing a felony if they turned it over to Tony and he could be charged with a felony for possessing it. They had a suggestion that Howard had told me about.
Howard Finkelstein: "The only person who can help Tony is a judge. They can declare its his trailer, order new vehicle identification numbers and give it back to him. As for whether or not he would have to pay all the storage fees, the law seems to say yes, but a judge might have a different solution."
Tony paid $6,000 for the trailer and is hoping to find an attorney to go to court for him, but if he doesnt get it back soon. He wont be able to pay the storage fees to retrieve it.
Tony Stern: "So at some point I am going to have to give up the fight because the trailer will be worth less than what i owe to get it out."
Patrick Fraser: "So if Tony cant get a judge to issue new ID numbers can the storage facility sell the trailer to cover their fees? According to the law, no its contraband. They have to destroy it i know what you are thinking sometimes the law makes no sense."
A problem been building that you wanna demolish? Need someone to haul it away? Contact us. We will work to vin dicate you.