What happens when police find your stolen car? Some time ago, my red Ford Capri was stolen at a sailing club. I drove to give a report at the end of an IT contract I had been working on.
I was gutted after the car was stolen, and set about claiming on the insurance who were close to paying out on my stolen car claim.
After 3 weeks, I received a phone call from the police in the early hours. They asked if I would like to drive to Chicago where they found my stolen car. They also had it towed to their impound, so I paid the tow and storage fees.
The petrol cap and doors were altered, and the steering had a new lock fitted. The police officer handed me the car. This time it had loads of keys on it. I signed the documents, paid the impound fees, and drove home.
The first thing I did was to buy gas at the pump station, which was just across the road from the police station.
I discovered that the key I had was not the right one, so I went back to the police and explained the situation. There was a change in the police’s shift, so it took another two and a half hours to find and report what was going on to another officer.
I asked about what had happened to my belongings in the stolen recovered vehicle as the previous police’s shift had no clue. Unfortunately, the police did not look where the car was found.
The car thief was into top model cars, specifically Ford cars. He would change the locks and ship them to Europe for sale. 2-3 other stolen cars were also found in the same street after a neighbor reported someone parking different cars.
The police’s mistake was not searching the house of the thief for personal effects. They returned there and recovered a bag with some of my clothes and other bits. Most of my stuff were gone, perhaps, dumped on a roadside somewhere.
The insurance also paid out for some of the belongings but my policy did not cover everything.
Some weeks later, I opened the compartment between the front seats and found my cassette tapes, (some were not mine) and cash. I kept the cash given that the car had been damaged underneath.
I left it with the mechanic for repairs and I had not been fully compensated for my loss. It felt justifiable to keep the cash, plus, the officer who recovered the stolen car had not searched it car properly.
What happens when police find your stolen car?
From the story above, the following happens after the police find your car:
The police contact you
The police may have the recovered car forensically tested for prints and DNA. They contact you or the agency that entered the car as stolen to see if they want to come process and collect it for evidence.
If you received a payout for the car already, your insurance company is who the police contact. If there was a lien on the stolen car, the lienholder is contacted by the police.
The entering agency or the police will directly notify you about where or the impound lot to find the recovered vehicle. You contact the tow company to recover your stolen car.
Recover the stolen car
Note that the recovering agency may not tow the car to a secure lot depending on the policy.
If the car was towed to an impound, you are responsible for it, though sometimes your insurer could be liable. Try and pay the tow and storage charges. Ensure to honor the notification earlier to prevent the storage fees from piling up.
Contact a mechanic
You need a mechanic to diagnose the recovered car and confirm it is in good condition before you drive it home. You could have it towed to your mechanic instead if it is not in drivable condition.
Inform your insurer
Let your insurance company know that your stolen car has been recovered. Depending on your policy, they get to cover your stolen belongings and any damages.
If the insurance paid out on the stolen car, they have the right to decide what they do with the vehicle. The police will not even contact you in the first place since the car no longer belongs to you.
In most cases, the insurance company sells the recovered car in the auction. If you want your car back, you have to contact your insurance company about what they want to do with it. They may let you know the date, time, and location where the car will be auctioned. Go there and bid on it.