Towing Company Illegally Sold Sailor’s Car At Auction: AGO

KITSAP COUNTY, WA — A Kitsap County towing company has been ordered to repay a sailor based at Naval Base Kitsap for illegally selling his car at auction.

According to an investigation by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Bethel Garage legally towed the sailor’s car back in 2018. However, the sailor was on deployment outside of Washington, couldn’t know his car had been towed, and didn’t come claim it. Bethel Garage did not check if the car’s owner was a service member, and later sold his car at auction without his knowledge.

That’s not acceptable in a region with thousands of military members, the Attorney General’s Office says, who filed a court case, ordering Bethel Garage to repay the sailor the cost of his car, plus $2,000 for the year when he did not have a vehicle.

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Bethel Garage complied, and has updated its policies to screen for military member’s vehicles before putting them up for sale.

The court order was part of a larger ‘Military and Veterans Initiative’ from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who just this year sent a letter to every licensed tow truck operator in Washington, reminding them that they have a legal obligation to service members.

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“The law is clear — towing companies have an obligation to determine whether a car belongs to a member of the military,” said Ferguson. “When our service men and women are deployed away from home and family, they should not need to worry whether their possessions are safe. There are specific laws that protect our service members and I will enforce them.”

Previously, Ferguson’s office has filed lawsuits against towing companies in Pierce and Thurston counties for similar incidents.

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Source: Bellevue Patch