OKLAHOMA CITY - A woman discovered her stolen truck at a local scrap yard. Frustrated, she says it should have been spotted as stolen when it was sold there.
Carolyn Herr's 1986 Chevy Silverado was discovered stolen at the end of April. Herr was heartbroken. It was the truck she used to drive food and clothing to homeless people around Oklahoma City. It's the second time a vehicle she used to bring the homeless provisions was stolen. She said she never thought it would happen to this one.
But a week and a half ago, it did. Her padlocked gates were pried open, and the locked up truck gone.
Herr posted the truck's photos and the circumstances of its disappearance on Facebook groups devoted to people who like similar vehicles and someone spotted it, first on the street, then at Metal Check, a scrap yard.
"My heart went to my feet," Herr said. "I wanted to throw up."
She said the perfectly running vehicle was gutted before it was sold to the yard for scrap.
Police MSgt. Gary Knight said the person who sold it to the yard isn't always the person who stole it.
"There’s also a reporting system that’s very easy for people to take advantage of right now," MSgt. Knight said, "because although metal recyclers keep track of the cars that come in, there’s a high volume of cars to come through, and there’s not electronic reporting that is required right now."
Metal Check owner Diana Salazar said they document all the paperwork as vehicles come in.
"He takes the title, he makes a copy of it with the I.D., makes sure the I.D. matches the name on the title, makes a ticket for them and they pay, they get paid," Salazar said. They also accept forms from the Tax Commission for vehicles ten years old or older.
"We don’t have any way to verify that it’s stolen," Salazar said, "I mean we don’t have, there’s nothing."
In November, however, Oklahoma law will require scrap metal yards to report the information of vehicles they receive to a database kept and supervised by local law enforcement. For now, there's not a great chance for victims like Herr to recover stolen vehicles from scrap yards.
"That truck was in my name," Herr said, "and I definitely did not bring it over there to sell it."
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help replace the truck.