Car theft victim feels re-victimized from impound lot fees

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Nakeitha Becton saw her stolen car recovered with a dented bumper and smashed headlight when she watched WREG's newscast Wednesday.

“When I heard the caught my car, got it in custody, I felt relieved,” Becton said. "Then when I saw the damages and heard what I have to do to get it back, it’s like I’m depressed all over again."

She said she got a notice in the mail asking her to pay at least $135 for towing and administrative fees.

She couldn't afford it.

"My mom, she helps me, she do what she can. But she has to pay for her house. She has to pay for her mortgage," Becton said. "At my job, I work Sunday through Thursday. I missed a whole lot of hours and a whole lot of money."

State Representative Raumesh Akbari empathized with Becton and said she’d even be willing to sponsor legislation.. eliminating these types of fees.

“I really do think it’s unfair for someone to be re-victimized," she said. “I certainly would be willing to look into legislation to address it; at least saying if a car is taken or its impounded by the police department, then you cannot charge a fee to the victim or pass that fee on to the perpetrator if found guilty."

"Help us, just help us," Becton said.

WREG called police on Becton’s behalf Friday asking why she and others have to pay so much.

Police explained the $125 is from the towing company and they have no control over that cost.

They said they do consider waiving the $10 administrative fee on a case-by-case basis.

Soon after, police called Becton and told her she could get her car back for free, she said.

We met her at the impound lot as she finally drove it out. Her family hugged her to celebrate.

“I feel relieved there are some good people out here," she said. "It was you. I know you did it."

But she still wondered what the hundreds of other people who have cars impounded can do about it.

"If this is happening over and over every day to a different person, that’s how you create more crime because people become desperate people," she said. "It’s not about the money. It’s about the principle. People have children. We have lives to live. We can’t stop what we're doing just because something bad happens to us. We have to continue to go to work to feed our families."