Truck returned to owner after Detroit police mistakenly towed it away

Posted at 10:38 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 23:25:03-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Jay Saad was overjoyed when city crews returned his charred Dodge Ram 1500 to his property on 7000 block Longacre Street. For more than two weeks, the pickup sat at V&F tow yard.

"I was pretty confused," Saad said. "I didn't know what to say and it was just a big shock to me."

The 20-year-old entrepreneur said he parked the truck at a property under renovations.

Saad claims two neighbors notified him that officers came onto his property and eventually called a tow company. He said a year ago the pickup was stolen and set on fire but the engine and transmission are still worth thousands.

"This is my property and I think what they did was wrong," Saad said. "If there was a violation they should have left a ticket or notice."

Sixth Precinct Commander Arnold Williams said the vehicle was listed as abandon in their system.

"We made a mistake in towing it," Williams said. "As far as the protocol it looked like a suspicious vehicle. [The officers] started their investigation and they couldn't determine if the vehicle was stolen or not."

However, officers that had the vehicle towed were not authorized and should have investigated more before immediately towing the pickup. An employee at V&F towing said on Tuesday they were in possession of the pickup for 15 days.

The employee initially said they would release it for $540 then called 7 Action News back to say they would release it for more than $200 less.

After our inquiry to Detroit police, the pickup was on a city tow truck and back en route to the Saad's fixer upper.

"If they're saying the media sparked it... it did not," Williams said. "We actually had text messages that show we were going to take care of it."

However, Saad credits 7 Action News for resolving the matter.

"Right.,you guys are pretty powerful because I think I'm not a priority to them," Saad said.

A spokesperson with the city sent 7 Action News information regarding laws on vehicle blights on private properties.

Sec 50-8-57 prohibits motor vehicle repair as a home occupation. DPD is in charge of supplying 30-day permission stickers for storage.

Detroit City Code Section 50-5-31 provides the penalties for the unlawful storage of an inoperable vehicle on land developed as residential. The penalty for first offense is $100. The penalty for a second offense is $200. The penalty for the third and subsequent offenses is $500.