10/16/2006Iowa: Cops Seize Cars to Keep for Themselves and Family
Law enforcement officials in Polk County, Iowa have been seizing cars, then purchasing them for friends and family for as little as one cent.
Polk County, Iowa sheriff's deputies and employees of a local towing company purchased seized vehicles at cut-rate prices as low as one cent. Earlier this month Iowa's Attorney General charged two fifteen-year veteran officers with "felonious misconduct" for falsifying sales receipts so that R&R Towing employees could buy vehicles before they were offered to the public at auction.
R&R Towing, founded by two reserve deputies, has long had a close relationship with the department. The attorney general charged the company's manager, Tim Cox, with fraud after Cox purchased a seized $10,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle for just $100.
A new investigation by the Des Moines Register found that even relatives of the sheriff's department and towing company employees have been buying seized automobiles at cut-rate prices. For example, Senior Deputy John R. Taylor helped Jamie Taylor buy a $5000 1997 Chevy Blazer for just $800 in November 2005. He also helped Jake Taylor buy a 2002 Honda motorcycle for $1265. At the same November 2005 auction, a 1999 Chevy Tahoe and 1992 Jeep Cherokee sold for one cent each.
Many police departments forbid the practice of allowing officers to purchase seized vehicles.