Car theft victim calls towing company


DENVER – The owner of Clark’s Auto Body on Grape Street says he’s not happy that one of his cars was stolen, but he’s even less happy about the towing and storage charges he must pay.

Allen Clark reached out to Contact Denver7 for answers.

“I’ve been in the business (of bodywork) for 36 years,” he said. “Moved to this location in December 2019.”

Clark and his team are bringing classics to life and making ordinary vehicles like this Honda CRV look like new.

Lance Hernandez, Denver7

One of the regular vehicles they worked on was a Honda Odyssey minivan, which had been parked on the street.

A thief apparently stole the van last week.

Neither Clark nor his team realized he was missing until the next day.

It was then that they called the police.

“(The officer) normally said on a stolen vehicle, you don’t have to pay to get it back,” Clark said.

In this case, Elite Towing & Recovery towed the vehicle, which had been left in the parking lot of an apartment complex, before it was reported stolen.

Clark said he called the tow company.

“They said there was an invoice on it. It’s going to be $ 341,” he said.

This is where things really started to get interesting: Clark said he planned to have a locksmith come to Elite on Saturday, so he could bring the Odyssey back to his store, instead of paying more. towing charge, and he was told there would be an additional charge of $ 60 to retrieve the vehicle on a weekend.

“No more than 10 minutes later, (a representative from the towing company) called back and apologized, and said ‘I made a mistake,’” said Clark.

The mistake? The Elite employee apparently failed to mention an additional $ 150 administrative charge as the car had been in their parking lot for more than two days.

Clark said he couldn’t believe it and called Denver7, then contacted Elite again on Sunday.

“How come your prices vary? ” He asked. “Every other person I’ve spoken to is different.”

Steven Carnes of Elite Towing and Recovery said the company just billed Clark for the usual towing fee of $ 200, plus $ 30 per day for storage and $ 15 for mileage.

He said there would have been an additional charge of $ 60 to pick it up on weekends as they don’t have staff available to release vehicles on weekends and would have to bring someone in.

Asked about the $ 150 administrative fee, Carnes said the state requires all owners and lien holders to be notified if a vehicle has been held for 48 hours.

When asked why the price was so high, Carnes replied, “You need to do a record search with the state of Colorado, then a national search if no record is found.”

He said staff then had to send registered letters to all legal owners and lien holders.

Carnes said Clark will avoid the fee if he picks up the Odyssey before 2 p.m. Monday. This is when the weekday staff send the mail.

“I can afford to pay, but what if it’s someone who can’t?” Clark said.

Clark said he spent his savings on keeping his body shop open during the pandemic.

He said he wanted to get the Odyssey back so he could finish the bodywork and then sell the vehicle for a profit.

He said Elite Towing & Recovery can help by doing a better job of communicating with employees, who then communicate with customers.

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