Stolen car recovered -but now this?! Madness

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jonw2000

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2003
Messages
47
Phew - where to start!!

First of all - for those who don't have the time or inclination to read the point of the story below is that my car was stolen, recovered with somebody driving it, that guy has got off scot-free but now wants his audio system that he installed in the car back from me!

For those who have more time, the story so far:

I wrote here a while back (in June - http://www.mbclub.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=16479 ) to tell you about my 300CE-24 being stolen from outside my house. I informed the police and informed the DVLA because I had left my driving documents (license and log book) in the glove compartment (stupid, I know, but I had just returned from a driving trip to France and hadn't removed them yet).

At that time I was resigned to never getting it back and I didn't hear anything for a month. Then at the beginning of July I had a call from a policeman in Ipswich who said that they had recovered the car and arrested the person driving it. However, the police were confused because the car had been reregistered to somebody else (not surprisingly). They were not sure whether I was the owner although it seemed pretty obvious to me. Apparently the guy they caught driving it had said he'd bought it legitimately from his uncle who lived in Ipswich. But when they went round to investigate the address it was boarded up and derelict. The policeman from Ipswich said that he was quite confident that the guy was making the story up and that he was the thief, but that they had to go through the proper procedures before I could get the car back.

The police also told me that the car seemed undamaged apart from the steering wheel had a big chunk out of it where they had hacksawed through it to get the steering lock off. The handbrake light also was continuously on so something was wrong there. But otherwise there wasn't any damage to the bodywork or interior.

Then followed a long and tedious process of trying to find out from the police what was going on and what was being done about prosecuting this car. The police however were saying that they have to keep an open mind because the car is still registered under somebody else's name and the case was being investigated. Therefore they couldn't release the car to me. For a couple of weeks I continued calling them to find out what was going on and also to ask them to confirm the car wasn't being impounded in some hideously expensive car pound charging huge amounts each day. They assured me it wasn't (it was).

Then there was a dispute between Ipswich police and the Met police about who should be dealing with the case. Ipswich police wanted the Met to deal with it because it was stolen from their patch, but the Met said they were too busy (after the July bombings I can understand this). But all the time nobody let me know what was going on - I had to chase and chase and chase to find out.

I still hadn't heard anything by the beginning of August when I went on holiday for two weeks. The car was still with the 'police' and the insurance company didn't have any clue either what was going on. The insurance company had also been next to useless up to this point. They started processing the claim but when I informed them the car had been recovered they did not contact the police themselves and seemed to think this was my job.

Whilst I was away in August, I received a call from a garage in Ipswich to tell me that they had just got my details from the police and that my car was with them, and had accrued £1300 of impoundment charges! I told the insurance company straight away and they arranged for a local garage to pick the car up and take it back (still in Ipswich) for assessment and repairs. The insurance company did agree to foot the bill for the impoundment, which they should because I would have thought it would have been in their interest to get the police to sort it out quickly.

By this time the Met police had been dealing with the case but it was almost impossible to get to speak to somebody about it. I managed to find out, though, that the guy caught driving the car had been bailed to appear in court in October. I was told that I may have to give evidence, which I was quite prepared to do. In the meantime the garage had assessed the car and there was damage to the steering wheel, brakes and tyres, and I contributed about 50% to the renewal of the latter two. The insurance company then signed off the car back to me and I had to travel to Ipswich to collect it (a pain in itself).

When I arrived at the car it did look fine with no visible signs, apart from a different style of steering wheel (apparently Mercedes didn't supply the original one anymore), the ignition barrel looked like it had been messed around with, the stereo was different and the back speakers didn't work, and the driver side back panel inside the car was loose where the thief had tried to mess around with the speakers. The other really annoying thing was that I only had a skeleton-type key to start the car and open the driver's side door. The key didn't fit any other door or the boot and the police apparently still had my original keys and documents.

When I got back home I found something else. In the boot the thief had tried to install a souped-up audio system - a CD changer, amp and huge speakers - all attached to a box. Now this type of system doesn't excite me at all so I thought I'd sell it and try to recoup some money now that my insurance premium has almost doubled (oh, I didn't mention that I had another Mercedes stolen from the same place last July - so two theft claims in 10 months!).

So, by now (September 3rd), I finally had the car back, but still with only one flimsy key and no alarm fob, and no wheel lock, so I dared not leave it parked outside (but I doubt I ever will again anyway). So I couldn't use the car (mind you, what with the costs in getting it back and the sky-high petrol costs, I couldn't really afford it anyway). The next step was to try and get my original keys and documents back from the police, but for two weeks I had no luck in contacting anyone in the police who knew anything about it.

Finally (and now you'll be glad to know I'm coming to an end), I received a voicemail from a police officer in Ipswich. He said something along the lines of:

"Hello Mr Williams, I have your keys here - they were put in my pigeon hole last week and I have been on leave all of August, and just came back recently. Please can you send me your address and I will post them to you. Also...
...
[wait for it]
...
I've had a call from the solicitor of the 'lad' who was caught driving your car and the lad says he left some property in your car and wants it back."

I dropped the phone after that.

Can you believe it?! That is really rubbing salt into the wounds.

So, I phoned up the policeman in Ipswich and he told me that the case had been dropped by the Met. He basically said that when the defendant went into the police station to renew his bail they apparently didn't have time to sort out his details so they let him go - they dropped the bail. He was quite clear about this and he seemed to be sympathetic to my case and sounded incredulous that they let this guy go. He mentioned that the CPS may not have thought it was worth pursuing but wasn't sure.

The next thing is, the thief now knows he is free and so goes about getting legal aid to try and get his sound system back!

Now, I have spoken to a couple of solicitors and they have both said there's little I can do and that the property is still legally his.

However, I cannot believe that I should have to give him back this stuff so quickly without a fight. I mean, it took me three months to get my car back in a worse state so why should I go to trouble to give this guy his audio system back? When people complain about how the criminals are treated better than the victims then they are so so right.

Makes you want to scream, doesn't it?
 
This kind of this is exactly why I have no faith at all in the Police :mad:
 
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SportsCoupeRich said:
put a screwdriver thru the cones and blow the amp. tell him it was like it when you picked it up from the garage.

they cant prove it and there is no way a court will find you guilty after hearing the backing to this.
I second this action. This scumbag deserves no better. B*st*rds. You have my sympathies.

-simon
 
All the car-pound stuff seems pretty ok to me - there is an agreement between the ABI and Police about storage of vehicles and it seems that they have done exactly as they should.

The offence should have been dealt with by the Met - nothing in the details you give to suggest otherwise. Bombings or not, their job.

The Police (Met) have let you down by not keeping in touch. So regardless of any good work they have done in the investigation (and some of the details you give suggest that there has been some work done) they fluff it by not keeping you up to date.

If the innocent person posting here had bought the (stolen) car in good faith and been nicked in it, I suspect the story would sound a little different ("It turns out the duffer who had it stolen in the first place always kept his docs in the glovebox..."). Thats the thing - the prosecution need to PROVE beyond doubt that this was not the case - any doubt, the bloke walks.

Ipswich have let you down by the way they have handled your property (the keys). This sort of thing will cost the force ££££ every year.

My suggestion is that you email the Chief Constable or Complaints Dept of each force and copy them the post you have written here.

You will get an apology - and if it motivates you ask for an ex-gratia payment.

Sad. But it looks like good work was being done, they just didn't keep you informed - you deserve better.

:cool:
 
Yes, you could explain that after leaving it in your boot for a few weeks and no-one claimed it you removed it and left it in the back garden. Perhaps it got rained on or the sprinkler must have got it wet.

Either way, the duty of care for said item is not yours. It got wet (very wet) - sorry :p

Scandalous story I might add - perhaps one that the papers would be interested in.
 
Victor Meldrew comes to mind. "I simply do not belieeeeeve it!!"

Congratulations on taking this the way you have.

How does this gentleman plan on retrieving 'his' property?? I certainly would NOT want him to come to my house, and no way would I leave any holes in the vehicle. Where is your radio? I would love to hear his excuse about that one. If he says there was no radio in it, when he bought it, then who did he buy the car from?

Have you managed to locate any serial numbers on this expensive audio equipment? I appreciate and fully understand your complete and utter lack of faith in the Police, but if the radio was stolen from somewhere other than the Metropolitan area the Police might be interested if the radio is stolen.

I would enjoy inconvienancing this 'gentleman' as much as possible, but just remember he might be the original thief and could possibly know where you live!! Unfortunately You have far, far more to loose than this idiot, and I would advise caution, before rushing into any sort of retalitory action.

Our justice system is a complete ass, but I would not want to live anywhere else.

Thanks for taking the time to document this sorry tale and good luck for the future.

Kind regards,
John
 
If that was a story line in a TV soap no-one would believe it. Quite bizzare. I would be incandescent with rage if it happened to me, in fact I am and it didn't. There must be a way you can thwart this pond slime. Perhaps Glojo or Plodd could offer advice. I'd be speaking to my solicitor, do you have legal expenses insurance?
As the Irish say "sorry to hear of your troubles".
 
What audin equipment. There wasnt anything in the car when you picked it up!!!

Oh and if there was then those speakers have some nasty holes and oooo that short circuit was bad dont think the amp can be repaired
devil.gif
 
It might cost you a little bit more.... but......

Pop a quarterlight, strip all the expensive stereo equipment out, bin it, burn it give it away or whatever, then report a break in to your vehicle and you can inform the scumbag ; 'sorry its all been stolen :) ' You will have a crime number to back it up as well.... so he can't say you have just kept it.

Bad side is you have to buy a new window, but lots of satisfaction .....
 
Thmsshaun said:
What audin equipment. There wasnt anything in the car when you picked it up!!!

Oh and if there was then those speakers have some nasty holes and oooo that short circuit was bad dont think the amp can be repaired
devil.gif
What a nightmare,Agree with Howard and Thmsshaun tho.Tell them the stereo equipment got nicked haha :devil:
 
To be frank I think Jonw200 needs to remain on the right side of the law in all this.

Bend them or play with the finer points of the law a little for sure but wasting Police time with false claims of break-ins falls little short of the crime itself in the eyes of the Police and CPS.

He needs to remain calm and do things with a clear head or rightly or wrongly it will be he that ends up before the judges.
 
some questions need digging out firstly who did he by the car from and secondly how much did he pay because he hasn't moaned about losing money so he may have stolen it ....also did he have insurance for the vehicle as your insurance company may well wish to recover cost incurred thus evening the insurance and possibly rejigging your insurance to a lower amount..... if you have his details pass them on ......if not ask for his address from the police and while your on mention the above and ask why he is not being dealt with if they bluff write a letter to the chief inspector and one to your MP and one to the police complaints commission for good measure then tell them you will be pleased to pass on the goods but he must pay for their professional removal up front a you believe he may be a criminal ....he will have to prove they belong to him as they may be stolen as well so if they would kindley like to sort it out...the last thing the police want is to become go betweens so they will iether arrest him or not if not you would like to know why
 
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I would suggest that as Simon and others have said that the sub and the speakers may well have been damaged - beyond all use and that you are prepared to send the items back as is but you will send it via courier to his solicitors address only and you will charge a reasonable handling fee on top of the postage charge...

oh lets say around £80 ish?!

Steve
 
mark.t said:
some questions need digging out firstly who did he by the car from and secondly how much did he pay because he hasn't moaned about losing money so he may have stolen it ....also did he have insurance for the vehicle as your insurance company may well wish to recover cost incurred thus evening the insurance and possibly rejigging your insurance to a lower amount..... if you have his details pass them on ......if not ask for his address from the police and while your on mention the above and ask why he is not being dealt with if they bluff write a letter to the chief inspector and one to your MP and one to the police complaints commission for good measure then tell them you will be pleased to pass on the goods but he must pay for their professional removal up front a you believe he may be a criminal ....he will have to prove they belong to him as they may be stolen as well so if they would kindley like to sort it out...the last thing the police want is to become go betweens so they will iether arrest him or not if not you would like to know why



Now that is a voice of reason and wuite possibly the best advice you will get and I would look at doing the aboce if I was in your position.
 
The Police won't be interested in the issue about speakers, a civil dispute and you have already provided the evidence that they weren't there in the first place...

:eek:
 
I agree - toast the amp, tear the subs apart and meet him with a 9 iron..

That will teach him next time.

There is no way i would stand for that.
 
My sympathies, you have indeed been badly treated and I don't wonder you feel aggrieved.

I would argue that you have no reason to believe either the car or anything in it was ever legally owned by him. Since the disputed sound system was not carried loose in the car but fitted to it, I would argue your title is greater than anyone else's. In principle, a changed sound system is no different than renewed tyres or a replaced windscreen. or a full tank of fuel. At the very least, he should provide you with your original sound system or its equivalent and pay to have it professionally re-fitted.
 
I'll have £5 on the audio kit being nicked to start with.

How about buying a cheap stereo cassette player on ebay for £2 and being adamant that that's all that was in the boot officer.

K
 
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SportsCoupeRich said:
put a screwdriver thru the cones and blow the amp. tell him it was like it when you picked it up from the garage.

they cant prove it and there is no way a court will find you guilty after hearing the backing to this.

Or remove it and flog it the local paper telling the thief it was stolen out the car, at least the money can go some way to getting your car back to normal.

Maybe the thief has joined the MBUK list thinking he was now a Merc owner and is lurking.

Dave
 

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