As victim faces hefty tow bill to get his stolen car back, police chief working to make it right
BATON ROUGE - Dozens of people have reached out wanting to help Roy Johnson, the man whose stolen car was found at a towing yard. Johnson is on the hook for a bill he can't afford to pay.
Friday, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul told 2 on Your Side's Brittany Weiss that there's money set aside in the department's budget for victims of crime.
Chief Paul says a victim should not be a victim twice. It's why he has organized a way to make sure this doesn't happen when a person's vehicle is towed, racking up a bill following a crime.
"If a person has been a victim of a crime, then they should not have to pay any tow fees or storage fees related to that," Paul said.
It's Baton Rouge Police Department policy, and Paul says he's made it known to towing companies.
Thursday, 2 On Your Side shared Johnson's story. He says his car was taken from a Walgreens parking lot. His friend drove it there to pick up a prescription for him. That car went missing until it was eventually found at LaRose Towing.
"The Baton Rouge Police Department notified me and told me that they found my vehicle, and they had impounded it," he said.
Johnson is on that hook for that tow bill, and he can't afford to pay.
"It's no fault of me," he said.
Chief Paul says if a victim is stuck with a tow bill, there are several options. The Crime Victims Reparations Fund and the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement have reimbursement funds.
"If a person is a victim of a crime — let me be clear on that — those tow companies should be billing the Baton Rouge Police Department directly, and then we will take care of those fees associated with that," Paul said.
Johnson filed with the Crime Victims Reparations Fund and is waiting to hear back. After dozens of phone calls, 2 On Your Side is also working to help him. BRPD is reviewing Johnson's case to see if anything can be done to help him.
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