Recovered stolen pickup provides tough lesson

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Updated Jul 12, 2017

It’s no secret that pickups are frequently targeted by thieves.

But what you may not know is how to handle a truck if it’s actually recovered.

A Texas couple found out the hard way that once their pickup was recovered they were stuck with impound and towing fees that amounted to nearly $400 only four hours after their truck arrived in the tow yard.

Adding insult to injury, David and Shellie Williams had to drive 25 miles from Dallas to Plano, Texas to get their Ram 1500. Another concern? The truck had not been processed by law enforcement and still contained several items from the thief including a driver’s license and a backpack filled with various items.

Upset about their situation, the Williams reached out to Consumer Justice, a watchdog TV news segment aired by CBS Dallas / Fort Worth. CBS learned that the Dallas Police Department will only search a recovered stolen vehicle for evidence if either the owner requests it or if the vehicle was used during the commission of a felony.

In Texas, a recovered stolen vehicle can be criminally classified as either joy riding or auto theft, both of which can be considered a felony or misdemeanor, according to

David Williams had filed a stolen vehicle report with DPD shortly after his truck was stolen from a parking garage at his work, but that report did not require police to actually search the vehicle once it was recovered.

The DPD officer who recovered the Williams’ truck did not process the vehicle for evidence and for unknown reasons had it towed out of town to Jordan Towing in Plano.

While DPD called the Williams to tell them that their pickup had been recovered and towed to Plano, they did not inform them that they had an option to have the vehicle searched by law enforcement. However, after CBS contacted Jordan Towing, the Williams did receive a partial refund.

Contact your insurance company to determine auto theft coverage in your area. You may not be covered for towing and impound fees associated with vehicle recovery, and you may not be reimbursed for a long trip to a tow yard.