Talk about being kick while you're down.
A downtown resident, Eddie Fischer, was left puzzled and frustrated after his daughter's stolen Volkswagen racked up hundreds of dollars in fees at the city's impound lot. The car was stolen from a parking lot in the 900 block of E. Commerce on March 3 and was repeatedly cited for illegal parking before finally being towed to the Growdon Pound on March 8.
Check out an intense police motorcycle chase in Brazil here.
Fischer had to pay more than $465 in impound fees to retrieve the vehicle on March 17, two weeks after it was initially stolen. The vehicle had also incurred over $200 in parking citations while it was unattended. “The systems aren't working together. Nobody was talking to each other,” said a frustrated Fischer, who only became aware that his car was impounded after receiving a letter from the facility.
The situation has raised questions about the communication between the San Antonio Parking Enforcement and the San Antonio Police Department. “We didn’t ask for this car to be stolen, and the fees just impound and compile. It's crazy that nobody is trying to address this issue,” Fischer commented.
Kelly Kapaun Saunders, Public Relations Manager for the Center City Development & Operations Department, which oversees downtown parking, said via email that the car was towed after being left unattended in a pay-to-park space for several days.
According to Saunders, parking enforcement staff only have access to the vehicle's make information via the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate when issuing citations. Full details, including owner information, are not available to them. "When the vehicle arrived at Growdon Pound, records showed the car to be stolen. At that time, personnel worked towards notifying the owner," Saunders explained.
The city has since dismissed the parking citations issued to Fischer based on the theft report.
Fischer remains concerned about the safety of the recovered vehicle. “How do we know it hasn’t been used in a criminal act? The last thing we want is for it to be involved in a felony stop,” he said. When the family retrieved the car from the pound, they found it had a broken taillight and a crack in its bumper.
Eddie Fischer calls for better inter-departmental communication to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.