The City of Chicago is stealing your car. At least it appears that way after cars are bring moved without telling residents.
The Chicago Tribune discovered the story of Margret Schriver, a metro area resident who went out to her usual parking spot one morning to find her car was gone. She called a towing company on the nearby sign in case it was taken accidentally but no luck. After contacting the police and the city, she was left with the conclusion her car was stolen. “I got my insurance involved and everything,” said Schriver.
This is an easy conclusion in an urban area. If a car is missing, the payments are current, and no city or company has claimed responsibility, then the vehicle is most likely on its way to a chop shop.
A week later the police found Schriver’s car, but they did not need to arrest any culprits. Why? Because the gas company was doing work in her area, so the city moved her car a mile away.
No note. No sign. No letter in the mail.
Schriver is one of more than 17,000 people who had their vehicle “relocated” in the last year. Chicago relies on residents to look at a website that lists cars moved vehicles or call the city’s information line. This seems reasonable, except cars are not always promptly uploaded into the system. So when people like Schriver call, they can be told that the city has no knowledge of the car. “When they can’t find your car in the system, what else are you supposed to think other than it’s stolen,” said Michelle Kamper, another Chicago resident whose car was moved and lost by the city.
Moving vehicles is a nice practice when compared to simply towing or impounding someone’s car. The only problem is when the system breaks down. For example, when the Tribune contacted owners who were on the relocated list, multiple people were still under the assumption their vehicle was stolen (many of these people initially contacted the city’s info line first.)
This does not yet seem to be a widespread epidemic of cars being parked and instantly going missing. Some relocated cars are uploaded into the system within 20 minutes after being moved, and cars can be only a few blocks away. Still, until the data is handled a little better, this has all the warm feelings of a fraternity prank.
source: Chicago Tribune
(PS, The main picture is obviously related to this posting only because it has to do with the subject of towing, and should not reflect the City of Chicago’s own towing practices. We just used it to grab your attention, and well, it worked!)