His Moped Was Stolen, Then He Was Charged $736 to Get It Out of a Tow Yard

A man charged hundreds of dollars to get his stolen moped out of a tow yard says that charge was more than the bike is worth

Working in bustling downtown Los Angeles, Jared Dunne's ride of choice is a moped.

"Eight-hundred bucks out the door, almost a 100 miles a gallon, $12 a month in insurance," Dunne says.

In December while the moped was parked, someone cut the chain and stole it. Dunne was out of state when the LAPD contacted him.

"You'd think that when the LAPD calls you and tells you that they've recovered the vehicle that that's great news," Dunne said.

It wasn't. His moped was taken to S&J Towing. The bill was a whopping $736 — yes, more than the moped was even worth.

When Dunne refused to pay for the moped that he says was trashed and undrivable, the tow company sent him to collections.

"It's like kicking people when they're down already and it's really an unfair policy," he said.

Jay Beeber with Safer Streets LA says law enforcement ought to treat victims as victims when they have a vehicle stolen. But LAPD says it's perfectly legal for you, the victim, to be on the hook for hundreds in towing and storage fees even if it's a stolen vehicle.

"It's like somebody else steals the vehicle and then they city holds it hostage as well before you can get it back," Beeber said.

Dunne says his moped was not in driving condition. He says S&J auctioned it off and still sent him to collections.

"It's going against my credit," Dunne said.

We reached out to S&J towing, which told us "the charges are all legal, but S&J is going to stop the collections process" as a courtesy.

That's good news for Dunne, who's rolling on his new moped, frustrated at a system he says financially punishes crime victims.

"The way its set up now is that the minute your stolen vehicle is recovered and they put it on that tow truck, you're starting to go in debt right then and there," Dunne said.

In talking with the LAPD, the agency said it would cost the city millions to pay for towing services for vehicle theft victims.

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