Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. What is the deal with the broken down car or not broken down car??? At Walmart parking lot it has the back window broken out and the gas cap is missing?? Can somebody just take that car if the wanted it??
Dear Juneau Resident,
No, you may not go take the car or any part of it. When someone abandons a car it becomes the responsibility and property of the person or agency that owns the land where the vehicle is abandoned.
Cars and car parts are not a finders/keepers proposition though some people may treat them that way. To steal property all you have to do is take something of value that you know does not belong to you. This has come up with people taking everything from a computer someone else stole and dumped to a man giving his children a little dog that got away from the owners after a bath. The dog situation got ugly and those poor kids... To be stealing all you have to do is take something of value that you know is not yours.
You are assuming no one cares about this car because of it's current condition. It could be that someone is attached to what happens to that car. JPD had a report from one woman whose car broke down at Walmart. She was trying to scrape up the money to fix it and checked on it every day. People started breaking parts of the car and stealing parts off it. It was a very sad situation that she ended up so victimized because of the break down and being short of money for the repair. JPD community service officers spend lots of time researching what is going on with cars that appear abandoned. It's important not to make assumptions just by looking at a vehicle.