HOW DO I GET MY CAR BACK FROM SOME ONE WHO SAID THEY WOULD HELP ME REPAIR IT?

I AM AN OLDER LADY WHO NEEDED TO HAVE A MOTOR MOUNT REPLACED ON MY CAR. THIS HANDYMAN GUY WHO USED TO WORK IN THE PARK WHERE I RESIDE, SAID THAT HE WOULD HELP ME PUT IT ON MY CAR. I TOLD HIM WHEN HE WAS DONE WITH PUTTING THAT ON I WOULD PAY HIM FOR THE HELP. HE CAME TO ME AND SAID THAT HE NEEDED TO TAKE IT FOR A TEST DRIVE. I TOLD HIM O.K. BUT HE NEVER BROUGHT IT BACK. I CALLED THE POLICE BUT THEY TOLD ME THAT THEY COULD NOT RETRIEVE THE CAR BECAUSE IT IS PERSONAL PROPERTY. WHAT CAN I DO, I NEED MY CAR?

Asked on March 6, 2011 under Criminal Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Something seems wrong here--*of course* the police can act if someone says their car was stolen! Call the police again and explain that someone *claimed* they would fix your car but then stole it; put it in terms of theft. They may have thought this was just a contract dispute, but if someone took your car and wonm't give it back, that's a crime, and you need to frame it in criminal terms.

Also, you could sue this handyman: you could bring a legal action looking to either (1) comple him to return the car; and/or (2) for monetary damages (e.g. the value of the car; the cost of renting a replacement).

Also, if you have theft insurance on the vehicle, contact your insurer.

As a practical matter, if the handyman has dispossed of (or wrecked) the car and has little or no assets or income, you may not be able to recover anything if you don't have insurance.


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