FOX Files: Abandoned cars downtown – but why?

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS – For weeks, an abandoned car on North Tucker near Washington Avenue has looked like a left-behind crime scene. FOX 2 checked it out last week after downtown residents complained for weeks. The vehicle had no bumper and no plates but had been riddled with bullet holes.

A downtown resident snapped pictures of the car on Oct. 14 and then again on Oct. 22. Finally, a tow warning sticker appeared on the car, saying it would be towed Oct. 26. We found the vehicle in the same spot on Nov. 5.

“They often sit on the side of the street for sometimes weeks at a time,” said downtown resident Dan Pistor.

Pistor has documented examples, such as one that appeared wrecked and another that was left way off the curb in a no parking zone. He said both vehicles remained there for weeks.

“They signal kind of a sense of disorder or that some sort chaotic crime or event had occurred,” he said.

Then there’s a car that’s not even claimed by the registered owner. We know because we checked.

The Missouri Department of Revenue connected us with the man listed as the owner.

“I sold that car!” the man said. “I checked with the guy who I sold it to and he says he sold it again.”

The former owner doesn’t know who has the car now or why it hasn’t been registered.

“This summer, University City police called to say they towed it after an arrest,” he said.

That could explain part of the problem because FOX 2 has learned St. Louis police are often required to leave a suspect’s vehicle on the street. Police tow policy states that in the “handling of (an) arrested person’s vehicle… if the vehicle is not stolen, wanted, or required as evidence… (The suspect has the option) to leave his/her vehicle parked at the curb.”

That policy does not explain how vehicles like the one with bullet holes one can remain parked illegally for weeks.

FOX 2 reported it to the Mayor’s office. It was finally towed right after our call.

A city spokesman added that they have been addressing this problem by having the St. Louis Streets Department working collaboratively with police for months to tow about 200 cars from downtown.

If you need action, call the St. Louis Citizen’s Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.

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