Stolen Car Sat in Impound Lot, Owner Says | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Stolen Car Sat in Impound Lot, Owner Says


Jackson resident Leslee Foukal said poor police interdepartmental communication forced her to waste more than $1,000 on a replacement vehicle in May.

A Jackson restaurant manager says the Jackson Police Department's poor interdepartmental communication cost her more than $1,000.

"I think this is a case of people in the department not talking to other people in the department," said Leslee Foukal, manager of Sneaky Beans Coffee Shop on North State Street.

Unidentified thieves stole Foukal's 2000 Jeep Cherokee from a Jackson parking lot in April, she told the Jackson Free Press. She reported the theft to JPD and received a case number the next day. Eight days later, on April 29, police found and towed Foukal's Jeep to the city's impound lot. The department did not recognize the vehicle as Foukal's, however, even though a detective called Foukal to get the vehicle's VIN and tag number April 25, four days earlier.

Unaware that her Jeep was tucked away in the city impound for weeks, Foukal rented a car May 5, and purchased a replacement vehicle May 11.

"That had been my sole mode of transportation," Foukal said. "I couldn't put off owning a vehicle any longer."

On May 12, Foukal says she called the impound lot and discovered that her vehicle had been sitting there all the while. Foukal retrieved her vehicle the next day, but the windows had been left down, allowing rain and other elements in. Seven days later, on May 20, a detective called Foukal to tell her that JPD had found her vehicle and stowed it at the impound lot.

Foukal claims that someone in the department had identified her stolen vehicle as early as May 10, however, one day before she pointlessly purchased another vehicle. Foukal said she received a letter May 26 informing her that her stolen car was on the lot. The letter is dated May 10, she said, even though its postmark is May 25.

"My real goal is to make sure that standard operating procedure is changed and that cops cross-reference vehicles when they tow them and that they're getting out calls when they're on the impound lot, and I'm not sure if that's happening," Foukal said.

Jackson Police Department Assistant Chief Lee Vance did not question Foukal's account.

"I just got a letter from her yesterday, and I've got my investigators as well as my people in the precinct reviewing not only the letter but the procedures that we have in place," Vance said. "I really am sorry that it appears that she had all of these things happen to her in the course of this investigation, but I'm glad she notified us of what has happened because that gives us an opportunity to review our procedures."

Vance added that if department procedures are not working or if they allow people to "fall through the cracks," then the department intends to fix the problem.

"If there's something we can do to make sure this doesn't happen to her or anybody else," Vance said, "that's what we're going to do."

Previous Comments


I used to work in the towing business and this is not a new problem with JPD. We towed away a car from a private business in Jackson and notified JPD the same day. The car was also reported stolen the same day. Why the owner didn't check with the business he blocked the driveway of that day I couldn't tell you. He did eventually and found that my company had towed his car from their property. Problem was it was past the forty days we had to hold the vehicle for before it was considered legally abandoned. We also had to send notifications through certified mail and post legal notices in the newspaper. So we had sold his vehicle at auction already. I really felt bad for the guy but there was nothing we could do. JFP knew the first day where the vehicle was. Seems their detectives are not so good at detecting where a vehicle might be.


It seems that this case still has time for favorable remedy for the care owner. The system brok and did not rule in favor of the victim. Give the woman her money back, clean up her car for the neglegnce in leaving her windows down and the next time a vehicle is reported stolen, check your stolen vehicle reports before impounding. This lady's misfortune should not serve as the consciousness for JPD as it attempts to "review our procedures". Pay up, clean up and shut up!


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