KILLEEN, Texas — Terry Ojeda's Mitsubishi Eclipse was stolen in Temple last Wednesday and recovered in Killeen just a few days later. He was relieved, until he got the bill.
"They told me it was $191 and $25 for every day after that," Ojeda said.
Ojeda now doesn't have a vehicle, but he was with his father the day the Killeen Police Department found his car.
"I could have went and got it. I was in Harker Heights at the time. I had available transportation to get the car," Ojeda said.
But Ojeda never got the chance because KPD didn't contact him. Instead, they contacted the Temple Police Department and towed the vehicle.
6 News found there is an ordinance that allows KPD to waive towing and storage charges in unusual situations. According to Chapter 28, Article 3, Sec. 28-62. - Duties of police rotation list tow services:
"(5)Towing and storage charges shall be waived when requested by the police department in unusual circumstances, including but not limited to, instances in which a prisoner is released without charges being filed."
Ojeda asked the Killeen Police Department for a waiver on Monday, but it turns out Ojeda's circumstance may not be unusual.
Ojeda said he called the Killeen Police Department and was told they wouldn't have called him anyway.
"They said because it was not towed directly with the Killeen Police Department that they automatically towed it," Ojeda said.
But is that really the department's policy?
Tuesday 6 News asked a Killeen PD spokeswoman if KPD, by policy, does not contact the owners of stolen vehicles unless the theft is reported directly to Killeen.
In response, the spokeswoman simply said "yes."
This means any stolen vehicle reported outside Killeen and found by the Killeen Police Department is subject to towing fees.
According to Killeen's ordinances, the starting cost for impounded vehicles is up to $150, plus additional fees.
Ojeda told 6 News KPD declined to waive the fees but not before giving him the run around.
When Ojeda first asked about getting the fees waived Monday, Killeen police claimed they could not confirm either way because the Temple Police Department might still need access to Ojeda's vehicle and they can't take any actions that affect the vehicle. Killeen PD said this after Ojeda had already been cleared to pick the vehicle up by Temple PD.
Ojeda called Temple PD Tuesday, and said a Temple PD sergeant contacted Killeen PD to inform them the case was inactive and waiving the fees would not be a problem.
Killeen police did not contact him back that morning.
After 6 News contacted Killeen PD to ask what their decision was, a spokeswoman said Ojeda needed to call them yet again.
Tuesday afternoon, however, they told Ojeda they would not waive the fee, according to Ojeda.
By the end of Tuesday, Ojeda was facing a bill of almost $350 to get his car back.
Ojeda said the city's policy is just wrong.
"There should be a period where you shouldn't have to pay to get your property back," Ojeda said. "Why should you pay to get stolen property returned to you?"
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