Car stolen from SA family racked up hundreds of dollars in fees at city pound

Parking enforcement officers unable to check if vehicle is stolen while issuing citations

SAN ANTONIO – A car stolen from a downtown parking lot in early March was repeatedly cited for illegal parking blocks away and then sat for more than a week at the city’s impound lot before its owner was finally informed of its recovery.

Owner Eddie Fischer paid more than $465 in impound fees to retrieve his daughter’s Volkswagen sedan from the Growdon Pound on March 17, two weeks after the car was taken.

“Nobody was talking to each other. The systems aren’t working together,” said Fischer, who received a letter informing him the vehicle was at the pound.

After the car was stolen from a parking lot in the 900 block of E. Commerce on March 3, city records show it was repeatedly cited for being parked illegally along Market Street between March 6-8.

The vehicle was finally towed to the pound on March 8, after racking up more than $200 in parking citations, records show.

The car was later abandoned in a pay-to-park spot on Market Street. (KSAT)

“We didn’t ask for this car to be stolen, nobody else asks for their car to be stolen. The fees that just impound and compile, it’s crazy. It’s crazy to see that nobody will try to help and fix that problem,” said Fischer, who questioned how well the San Antonio Parking Enforcement and San Antonio Police departments are communicating with one another.

A spokeswoman for the Center City Development & Operations Department, which oversees downtown parking, said Fischer’s vehicle was towed after being left unattended at a pay-to-park space for several days.

“Vehicles that are cited by City of San Antonio Parking Enforcement are scanned via the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate. Parking enforcement staff only have access to vehicle make information. When issuing a parking citation, vehicle owner and address are also unavailable to parking enforcement. When the vehicle arrived at Growdon Pound, a vehicle record showed the car to be stolen. At that time, Growdon Pound personnel worked towards notifying the owner of the vehicle,” CCDO Public Relations Manager Kelly Kapaun Saunders said via email.

Saunders said the city has now dismissed the parking citations issued to Fischer, based on the theft report.

The Growdon Pound. (KSAT)

Fischer called the lack of information provided by police about the recovered vehicle perplexing and said he is hesitant to have his daughter continue driving the vehicle.

“Is the car clean? Has it been safe? How do we know it wasn’t used in a vicious act? The last thing we want to have is for her to be driving around, the tags be run, and all of a sudden it’s a felony stop with somebody who didn’t do anything,” said Fischer.

He said when his family retrieved it from the pound it had a broken tail light and a crack in its bumper.

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About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.