Stolen Car Recovered by Police. Now, Victim Has to Pay to Get It Back?
An Upstate New York man has his car stolen and what happens next is going to make you say those dreaded words, "only in New York."
Here's the story: a Rome, NY man had his car stolen and It was eventually recovered about 50 miles away in Syracuse. One would think this is a good thing and now Joseph Storms will be getting his car back. Wrong.
Unfortunately, because it's reported that alleged drug activity was happening in the car during the joy ride, the vehicle is needed by the DA's office because the alleged car jacker's attorney might need to examine the evidence. And, the evidence is the vehicle.
Now, for more than two-months, Joe has not been able to get his car back. A lot of this has to do with new downstate Democrat sponsored Justice reforms in Albany that are intended to level the playing field for those accused of a crime. Unfortunately, as you'll discover in this story - the leveling of the playing field seemingly placed the victim at a disadvantage.
After weeks of waiting, Storms contacted his local State Senator Joe Griffo and asked for help in getting the vehicle back. Griffo and his office were able to communicate with law enforcement in Onondaga and Oneida Counties in order to move to get the vehicle released. "We got Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara to agree to release the vehicle back to Storms," said Griffo. "Scott completely understood."
But, it didn't end there.
Law enforcement in Syracuse said that because the vehicle was considered evidence, it couldn't just be released. The car had to be transported back to Rome Police, where they would then release it to Storms, based on the DA's decision to allow it. Griffo said Syracuse PD said the vehicle can only be returned, if Storms pays the $750 it will cost to tow it back to Rome. The problem was that the municipality wasn't able to assume the expense.
So, let's review. Joe Storms has his vehicle stolen. Once recovered in Syracuse, it's impounded for more than two months, and now that it's being released back to Oneida County, he has to pay $750 to get it back and as it turns out, it's an expanse he can't afford right now. Unbelievable.
"This is all part of the law now after bail reform and discovery," said Griffo. "We'll work to make changes when we get back to Albany, but for now, Joe is a real victim in this case."
So, here's the good news. The story of Joe and his impounded car doesn't end here, because of an amazing community that listens to the radio every morning.
On Monday morning, the Keeler Show asked our WIBX audience to kick in some money to help Joe as a way of the community standing up to say this policy is wrong. After about 90 minutes, we raised $750 that will be given to Joe so he can get his car back.
"This is the type of thing that shouldn't happen to anybody," said Griffo. "It's amazing that your audience stepped up to send a message of protest to the majority in Albany. This will be a story I can tell to other legislators."
A special thanks to all of the Keeler Show listeners who donated money on Monday. Every penny will be given over to Storms and he'll be getting his transportation back soon.
I believe the next step is to keep pressure on Albany this fall to change the law so that this doesn't happen to anyone else.