Stolen snowmobile leads to $380 in impound fees for the victim

Stolen snowmobile leads to $380 in impound fees for the victim

What should have been a joyous moment for Micky Multani felt like a punch in the gut.

His stolen snowmobile was found by police, but it cost him almost $380 to get it out of the city's impound lot.

Police had recovered the vehicle on a Friday — but when Multani called the lot they said they didn't have his snowmobile yet.

The Monday after was a holiday, so Multani said he was not able to pick up the sled until the Tuesday. When he showed up at 2:30 p.m., he realized he had to get a new key for his snowmobile. At that point in time the fees were $340. 

By the time he returned, about two hours later, he was dinged another $40 for another day of storage. 

"It's just wrong," said Multani. "This needs to be re-evaluated."

"If it's stolen property ... like, come on. That just doesn't make sense," he added.

Impound lot 'safeguards' property

According to the Calgary Parking Authority, which operates the impound lot, they averaged 284 stolen vehicles — or almost nine per cent of all impounded vehicles — each month in 2016.

"Storage fees are assessed on whether the vehicle/property occupies a stall at the specific time at which a storage fee is due to be charged," said Adrian Mrdeza with the CPA by email. 

"In extenuating circumstances, and by approval of both the Impound lot coordinator and manager of enforcement support there may be leeway provided. These circumstances are looked into on a case-by-case basis."

He said the CPA simply receives property from Calgary police and "safeguards it until the investigation has been completed and the registered owner comes to retrieve the property."

Someone has to pay

Detective Knud Shoebotham with the Calgary Police says somebody has to pay — and at this point it's not the city.

"It boils down to: should it be a taxpayer to pay ... through the city? Or should it be the impacted individual?"

Shoebotham said usually the fees are covered by insurance, but Multani said because his insurance isn't comprehensive he doesn't believe he will be reimbursed.

Multani says he wouldn't mind paying the bill if his snowmobile was towed for something he did wrong. But it's harder to swallow the cost for a stolen sled.

"It's just wrong," he said.

Mrdeza said the impound lot is operated on a break-even basis and the CPA does not make money off the fees.

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