A typo in the original version has been corrected.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City man says his car was stolen over the weekend from Penn Square Mall. Police found it not too far from where he left it, but getting it back home wasn’t so easy.
“I knew somebody had taken it because I knew where it was parked at,” said Marvin Slutzky, who says his car was stolen at Penn Square Mall.
Slutzky says he visited Penn Square Mall last Saturday, only to pick up a package from one store and when he came back to his parking spot his Toyota Camry wasn’t there.
After 30 minutes of walking around and looking for it with mall security– he called police.
On Tuesday night, he got the call.
He says his car was found still at the mall, but in a different lot.
“She said, ‘If you don’t come down here within the hour, and at that time it was 12:30, we’re gonna have to tow it,’” Slutzky said.
But Slutzky didn’t have anyone to call that late at night to take him to pick it up.
The next day, he went to the wrecker it was towed to, not expecting to have to pull out his wallet.
“I had to pay $237 to get my car out,” Slutzky sais. “I said, ‘that’s ridiculous.’ I get my car stolen and the state and the city is gonna hold my car hostage and they’re not gonna give it to me until I pay for it. That’s ridiculous.”
But KFOR found out, in this case, that’s state law. Even if you are technically the victim of the crime.
“Anytime we help law enforcement, in Title 47, we are authorized to collect all lawful fees from the owner, the agent, the lienholder wanting to pick up the car, or the insurer accepting liability for the loss or purchasing the vehicle as a loss,” said Chris Puckett, Former Oklahoma Wrecker Owners Association President. “The owner, who is a victim of a crime but also at the same time anybody can be a victim of any crime. Let’s say you were assaulted or in a hit and run and injured, you still have to pay the hospital and the doctors. The same things works for wreckers.”
We also contacted the Corporation Commission for further explanation. We were told for non-consensual tows– meaning you didn’t contact the tow service yourself– then there are set rates under the law.
But in Marvin’s case, he feels like it’s wrong to be charged the fee as a victim.
“I think the law should be changed. If you get your car stolen, you don’t have any control of that. But to have to pay for it to get it back from the police, the city,” Slutzky said. “I think a person ought to be able to take that to court and win that.”
The Corporation Commission does say if you feel like you have been overcharged– you can have them look into your case.
You can reach them by calling 405-521-2211.