Aurora, CO

Aurora resident waits eight days to learn car is stolen

David Heitz
Robbie DeYoung talks to the City Council about car theft and impound fees.Photo

A woman who spoke during public comment time at the Aurora City Council meeting Monday said a resident recently waited eight days before learning her car had been stolen.

Robbie DeYoung of Stolen and Vandalized Vehicles in Colorado online group said the member did not learn her car was stolen from police but instead M & M Impound and Towing notified her. DeYoung pointed out that this woman would not have been eligible for a city of Aurora voucher that pays for impound fees for victims of car theft. The law requires a claim be made within three days of the theft.

“So, a three-day period where the city will so graciously pay for your impound is insufficient,” she told the council.

DeYoung said the woman had insurance that paid for the impound fees, but said many car theft victims don’t. She said one reason it can take so long for people to find out their car has been stolen is because the address on their vehicle registration is incorrect. People move and forget to change their address on the registration, so impound notices go to the wrong address.

Impound fees rile resident

A woman from Aurora who had her car stolen in November told the City Council in December “I don’t think that’s right” that she should have to pay $185 to get her car out of impound.

Her testimony proved timely as Aurora has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft in the nation. Back in June, City Councilmember Juan Marcano drafted legislation and the council approved it to have the city look into opening its own fee-free impound lot.

DeYoung said she understands the city is working toward opening its own lot. Denver operates its own impound lot and car theft victims are not charged fees, she said. “Something must be done,” she said. “Three days are not enough.”

Car found a week later, inoperable

For Howell, the entire experience left her feeling like a victim. An Aurora resident since 1991, she said she has no problem paying high taxes for excellent city services. But when she found out she had to pay to get her car out of the impound, she fumed.

She recalls getting a call from the police department a week after the car disappeared. “They said I could come get my car. And I’m thinking really, within a week you found my car? I didn’t say that out loud,” Howell explained to the council. “I was given an address to come pick up my car.”

The police did not tell Howell she would be going to an impound lot. When she got there, not only did she learn about the $185 fee, but she was also told the car was not operable.

Much like the day her car was stolen, she fumed. “I paid my taxes to have the car found,” she told the council. “I don’t think I should have to pay to have it given back to me.”

Car theft victim walks off anger

Howell recalls walking home from Aurora Mall the day thieves swiped her car. “I could fly home by walking just because I was so angry,” she said. Then she faced a similar problem at the impound lot.

When Marcano sponsored his impound lot legislation in June, he said people recovering stolen vehicles paid almost $1 million in the past year to M&M Impound and Towing. M&M runs Aurora’s only impound lot, and the state regulates its fees, including $125 for towing, $35 notice fees and $30 for storage fee.

Aurora police can waive impound fees on a case-by-case basis, but to do so for all car theft victims isn't financially feasible under the contract between M&M Impound and Towing and the city, Marcano's resolution said.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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