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Police Recovered His Stolen Car, But Never Told Him, Leaving Him With $685 In Fees

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man's car was stolen, then recovered, but police never called to tell him, and fees begin to rack up at the tow yard where his vehicle was stored.

The viewer ultimately decided to not do an interview, but in researching his dilemma, the Morning Insiders made an interesting discovery.

A delivery driver dropped off groceries at 14th Street and Michigan Avenue. Minutes later, strangers hopped into his car. He'd left it unlocked, keys in the ignition; dumb, he knows.

But he also thought what happened next was stupid.

Weeks later, he was informed his car was at an auto pound in Cicero, and had been there for several days. With storage fees, the cost to get it back totaled $685.

Why didn't he come sooner? Blame snail mail.

He only knew his car was found because of a letter from the Illinois Secretary of State Police.

It was dated June 18, but said they found the car on June 11. Why didn't they call?

Illinois State Police said if troopers suspect a car is stolen, they enter its info into a database called LEADS, the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System. If the car is confirmed stolen, the department with the original case is notified and will contact the vehicle's owner about the recovery.

In this case, the Chicago Police Department took the initial report, but never followed up. CBS 2 wondered how often that happens and now we know.

Open records show 12,281 vehicles recovered by CPD in the past 2 ½ years. Only 1,516 owners were contacted, or about 12%.

Chicago police have an answer for this, written in their vehicle theft and wanted vehicle procedures policy. Filing a stolen car report? You need to tell officers that you want to be notified if they find your car. Now you know.

CPD could not tell us if the viewer in this case asked to be contacted if his car was recovered, nor could we find any box on his police report to check yes or no.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State said the letter to inform the viewer of his car's whereabouts was a "courtesy."

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