Car crushed for cash

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A thief scrapped a teenager's car for cash. Tonight, that child's mother talks to 12 On Your Side.

She can't believe the car was crushed by a scrap metal processor -- without a title. Thieves, stealing and selling metal is a problem for police and scrap metal processors. New laws curb some of the fencing, but mostly they enable you to catch a crook, but lose a car.

A 1996 Ford Crown Victoria was stolen 5-months after a Richmond mother bought it for her high school graduate.

"It meant the world to him. We were so happy to find it off craigslist and it was such a deal," said mother Tiffany Branch.

Thieves towed the car from a Northside Street where it broke down and stayed for two weeks. Tiffany says when she returned after saving to repair it thieves had unloaded the car at 'Sims Metal Management'.

"It's gone. Crush a car that no one had basically no title, no registration," she said.

Tiffany branch talked with 12 outside the Deepwater Terminal Road business.

"The thieves brought it to them. They took their word. They crushed my car within 24 hours," she said.

Under Virginia law vehicles 7 years or older can be crushed for cash without a title. If there's no title, the seller should have a D.M.V. salvage certificate. Scrap metal recyclers must take the seller's picture, the documentation, copy their I.D. and store it on file.

Sims, the world's largest metal and electronics waste recycler, says it's protected. It followed the law and the two men who sold them Tiffany's son's car got arrested.

"I'm not protected. I'm a citizen. I work and I struggle to take care of my family and I am not protected," Tiffany said. "There's nothing I can do about it. We're out of a car. The car is gone."

Sims Metal Management is considering giving Tiffany's son, a replacement car, comparable to what was crushed. A company spokesman says, they'll wait for the thieves to be prosecuted and see if they pay restitution, and revisit the matter then.

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