How was this handled?


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jsalcedo
April 8, 2005, 12:42 AM
A good friend of mine I've known since childhood has recently lost his job
been hospitalized twice and had fallen on difficult financial times.

He had fallen behind on his truck payment and had been contacted by the
finance company in order to arrange payment.

I ended up buying his Beretta and Kahr allowing him to make 3 vehicle payments putting him just a week past due.

He had assurances from the lienholder that his truck was no longer in danger of reposession and he also had his western union payment receipts just in case.

Early Saturday morning last week he heard someone driving up the dirt road leading to his rural house.

Upon hearing the sound of a hydrolic lift, my friend grabbed his Winchester 1200 and flew out the door to see who was taking his truck.

Holding the shotgun (muzzle pointed skyward) he ordered the man to put his truck down and get off his property. He produced the receipts from the cab of the truck as proof.

The stammering repo man lowered the vehicle and threatened that he was going to come back with the sheriff because he had a gun pulled on him.

No law enforcement showed up.

My friend reamed the finance company which had forgotten to rescind the repo order before leaving for the weekend.

Did my friend handle this situation properly?

I'm not sure if I would have done the same but I'm not in dire finacial straits
either.

What do you guys think?

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Sergeant Sabre
April 8, 2005, 12:48 AM
Sounds like he, by going outside armed to confront an individual the thought was taking his property during daylight hours (you did say morning), violated the law. I know Texas law allows one to use deadly force to defend your outside property from theft only at night.

It seems, from the way you describe it, that it could have turned into a bad situation.

c_yeager
April 8, 2005, 05:30 AM
I think he handled it pretty poorly. He KNEW that there was an issue regarding his vehicle so, it wouldnt have taken a lot of synapse firing to put two and two together on why the towtruck was there. Even if he was "just a week past due" he is still a week past due, and his truck CAN be legally taken. Now obviously the finance company would rather have the payments than the car (they make more money that way) so it is likely to have been a mistake on their part, a mistake that could have been solved over the phone WITHOUT a shotgun.

More to the point, this entire fiasco was of his own making. The only reason that tow truck driver was there was because he didnt pay his bills. If runs out with a shotgun and caps the guy how can it be anyones fault but his own? Frankly, the repo-man would have been perfectly justified if he had shot your friend dead in his driveway. Fortunatly ONE of the people involved seems to have had their head on straight.

Sindawe
April 8, 2005, 05:56 AM
He had assurances from the lienholder that his truck was no longer in danger of reposession and he also had his western union payment receipts just in case.
Early Saturday morning last week he heard someone driving up the dirt road leading to his rural house. Upon hearing the sound of a hydrolic lift, my friend grabbed his Winchester 1200 and flew out the door to see who was taking his truck.
Holding the shotgun (muzzle pointed skyward) he ordered the man to put his truck down and get off his property. He produced the receipts from the cab of the truck as proof.
The stammering repo man lowered the vehicle and threatened that he was going to come back with the sheriff because he had a gun pulled on him.
No law enforcement showed up. Running against the pack, this sounds Righteous to my ears. Leinholder said there was no longer an issue, but did not bother to negate the Repo order. Their bad. Bummer the Repo Man had to face an irate, armed individual, but hey, "You pays your money, you takes your chances" if Mr. Repo is sneaking about in wee hours of dawn, tresspassing on private property and not presenting proper orders of repossession, well thats just too frelling bad if he gets scared into having to change his small clothes.

Others may ( and have ) differed, but IMHO I see nothing in your friends response that extreme and unwarranted.

Model520Fan
April 8, 2005, 07:02 AM
It would probably take a lawyer to analyze this properly, and I'm sure it would vary state by state, but the lienholder screwed up, and the repo man relied on the lienholder. If the lienholder is so entitled to the car, why didn't he ring the doorbell and get the keys?

The fact that no policeman or sheriff showed up is a hint as to the legality in that state.

c_yeager
April 8, 2005, 07:48 AM
If the lienholder is so entitled to the car, why didn't he ring the doorbell and get the keys?

Maybe because there are crazy people out there that reach for a shotgun as the solution to all of their self-imposed problems? Now you know why repo-men work in the middle of the night, less chance of getting shot. Maybe next time this guy will remember that and pick up the car at 2am instead.

ulflyer
April 8, 2005, 08:35 AM
I live off the road a good ways and even longer from any LEO help. If I hear strange noises I sure as heck am not going out to investigate unarmed.......law or no law. Good for the shotgunner!

TheDutchman
April 8, 2005, 08:54 AM
In the State of TEXAS its not against the law to stop someone from breaking in or stealing your Vehicle. Use of force is justifiable by law at night.

Frankly, the repo-man would have been perfectly justified if he had shot your friend dead in his driveway.

The repo man would be on arrested Capital murder charge if he shot the owner of the vehicle. The Repo man was technically stealing the car.

Even if he was "just a week past due" he is still a week past due, and his truck CAN be legally taken.

No the Truck can not legally be taken in the State of Texas if the owner of the vehicle confronts the Repo man while in the act, by law the Repossession can not take place.
Here in Texas there has been may cases of a Repo man getting shot at and sometimes killed during a reposession.This was a hot topic a few years ago when a Repo man from Houston was shot through the back window of his truck and killed.
Don't mean to pick on anybody but just some statements where wrong in a previous post :)

MikeIsaj
April 8, 2005, 09:15 AM
I have mixed feelings on this situation because I have recently dealt with a bank over a situation in which they were wrong and were demanding a loan payment they already had received. I know how frustrating that is when you are right.

When the dust settles I think I can make a case for Terroristic Threats at least. The presense of a shotgun with a demand to perform an action carries an implied threat of force to ensure compliance. Where it was aimed is irrelevent.

Your friend needs a good friend to sit him down and talk. He is not thinking clearly I assume due to the current stress in his life. His actions were wrong and dangerous. They were totally unustified. Car thiefs don't tow vehicles, they hot wire them, it's faster. The reasonable assumption was repo. That is a situation that can be resolved with the bank and does not justify the response. Your friend is lucky he didn't get hurt or charged.

Redneck Revolver
April 8, 2005, 09:22 AM
i think the key is that the muzzle was pionted skyward, and not at the repo man. i dont think your friend did anything wrong. maybe scarred the repo man but in his line of work he's probably dealt with it alot so no harm done (sept maybe to his undies :p )

dolanp
April 8, 2005, 11:02 AM
I dunno, I watched that show "Repo Men" on TLC or Discovery or whatever it was, and this happened quite frequently. Virtually every time they towed a car and the owner found out he said that "I just talked to them and they said everything's ok!". Not saying this wasn't the case with your friend, but the repo men hear it all the time so they aren't going to believe it. If not for the gun he probably would have just taken it anyways. Pulling a firearm when you can't use it isn't generally a good idea at all.

Bear Gulch
April 8, 2005, 11:08 AM
Either way it is a mess. It would depend on your state's laws. But I am sure it isn't the first time Mr. Repo has had a gun pulled on him.

DeputyVaughn
April 8, 2005, 11:31 AM
Here in Alabama, we tell repo men (with proper papers), If you get away clean it's your vehicle. If you get caught leave it. You'll get another chance. We're not going to get into a civil matter unless it turns violent. If it turns violent it will be a different matter.
In Alabama you cannot use deadly force to defend property outside of your residence.

Scott

Jenrick
April 8, 2005, 11:53 AM
In texas, if your friend had reason to believe that the vechile was being stolen (not repo'd), then he would have been well within his rights. The "criminal mischief in the nightime" statute only applies to the actual usage of deadly force, not the threat of. Stopping what you REASONABLY believe to be a felonly in commision (vehicle theft in this case) on your own private property w/o the actual usage of lethal force is to the best of my knowledge completely legal.

Now the question becomes, is it reasonable for your friend to assume that the vehicle was being stolen, or should he have realised it was being repo'd? That question is of course up to the grandjury or trial jury. Obviously since the law didn't show up, they felt that his actions were reasonable.

The case mentioned in Houston was rulled a good shoot. The grand jury felt that in this case the owner had reason to believe that his vehicle was in fact being stolen. Apparently a rash auto thefts via tow truck had been commited in the area, the tow truck was not marked as a repo vehicle, and the owner had been assure by the lienholder that the vechile would not be repo'd. Additionally the crime occured in the middle of the night, and had the same MO as the previous widely publicised auto thefts. The individuals fire several rounds through the rear windshiled of the tow truck and killed the driver. The grand jury held that the owner of the vehicle had a reasonable belieft that a felony was being commited on his property, at night. Basically once the reasonable belieft was established, it was smooth sailing.

-Jenrick

Gunsnrovers
April 8, 2005, 12:01 PM
Legal issues with the repo aside, I think it wass pretty stupid of your friend to grab "his Winchester 1200 and flew out the door to see who was taking his truck."

A quick look out the window to check what your getting into would be advisable. He didn't have a clue as to who or how many where out there.

TheDutchman
April 8, 2005, 12:20 PM
Was it bad he had a shotgun no. In the "State of Texas" not in the state anybody else lives in but the "State of Texas" lethal force is justifiably at night if someone is stealing or breaking into your vehicle. Now what the Repo man did even thought it was a mistake was auto theft at night. The Repo man has no legal recourse, let him call the police, they do not have ground to arrest him. A few years back in here in Austin,TX (he is a CHL holder) a guy and his companion where having dinner at night in downtown ,they walked up to there vehicle and a BG was stealing the stereo.The BG retreat to a alley the guy followed, a altercation occur the BG ended up dead . It went before a Grand jury and was no billed.

Gordon Fink
April 8, 2005, 01:03 PM
These kinds of situations are very frustrating for the customers, especially when they’re not at fault. Furthermore, some thieves own towing companies.

In this case, the truck “owner” and the repo man were both victims of the lender’s mistake. Luckily, no one was harmed. While the owner’s actions may have been legally unwise, they no doubt saved him from additional hassle and expense.

~G. Fink

Bear Gulch
April 8, 2005, 01:38 PM
If mr repo had been packing, it could have gone downhill quickly.

jsalcedo
April 9, 2005, 01:19 PM
The replies seem to be in two camps.

He was justfied but foolish.

He was foolish and reckless.

I'm not sure what I would have done faced with he same situation.

Maybe just have a concealed weapon and my receipts at the ready in order to counter each possibility.

GRB
April 9, 2005, 05:43 PM
No one can know if he would have been dumb enough to shoot the reposession guy if all he had done was tried to repossess the vehicle. Yes it would have been dumb, terribly so if only because he most likely would easily have gotten the car back because he had paid and had his receipts. Had he shot the guy he possibly would have taken a life for a day or two day's inconvenience of a missing truck. Not too smart in my eyes anyhow. There would have likely been many more days inconvenience caused by a shooting and not just for the guy who got shot.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with walking out your door on private property with a shotgun in Texas. Maybe there is wrong in it, maybe not, I do not live in Texas. Yet I will say there was, in my opinion, a better way to handle the situation. Go to the door, place shotgun against inside of doorway out of sight of the repo guy, ask him what he is doing and then explain you just paid the bills and you have the receipt if he would like to see them. Just one sentence does it all: Hi there sir, you're not repossesing my truck are you, because I just paid all the bills and have receipts; would you like to see them?At the same time, if someone else is home have them call 911 and tell them you think your car is being stolen right off of your own property, please come quick. If the guy makes any hinky moves that appear threatening enough to legaly use deadly force, you grab and level the shotgun at him and tell him don't move, control him and call 911.

My bet is that chances are the guy would listen to you, before a shotgun was ever necessary, and take a look at the receipts and the notice from the finance company saying all is well for now and, he would leave the car with you. If he did not, well there would be one hell of a good lawsuit in the making against the repo guy, and against the finance company. The guy who did it this way would stand to make enough money to get him out of debt all together. If he had shot the repo guy, even if found not guilty of a crime, he might be found liable in civil court - you know an OJ Simpson sort of a thing. Then what good did the shotgun do him?

As it stands now, he probably has made an enemy of the repo guy, and you can almost bet that if the guy falls back on his payments again, the repo guy (or another) will be back in the dark at 4AM or, he will follow your friend and wait for your friend to park and go to do something that has him a distance from the car. Then he will snatch it.

I think a level head needs to prevail in such a situation; talk first, threaten with deadly force or shoot when legally necessary later - again I mean in such a situation. That shotgun could have been brought into play had events become threatening enough. I am happy that your friend kept the scatter gun pointed toward the heavens, but I think it would have been better off just at arms reach in such a case.

All the best,
Glenn B

Malone LaVeigh
April 9, 2005, 11:58 PM
Even in California, it's legal to carry a firearm on your property at any time. How was what he did anything but carrying a firearm on his property while he happened to be investigating a suspicious situation?

WilderBill
April 10, 2005, 12:02 AM
I certainly wouldn't assume that anyone with a wrecker was a repo guy.
I've had a car towed from my driveway in about 15 seconds!
BTW I often check odd noises at night with a firearm in hand. Sometimes in the day, as well.

dakotasin
April 10, 2005, 12:16 AM
i think a lot of people are missing a major point here, and that is the rural setting.

when there are noises outside of a farmhouse where the nearest law may not make it there that day, one investigates - usually armed.

good call for the shotgunner.

crt360
April 10, 2005, 01:12 AM
I would generally agree with TheDutchman's assessment. The law in Texas does not allow you to continue the act of repossession when a breach of the peace is likely to occur. This happens when the homeowner comes out with a shotgun. I would guess this scenario has played out hundreds of times.

There is plenty of less than honest dealing in the towing business down here, especially with the companies that are contracted to patrol lots and tow "illegally" parked and unpermitted cars, as well as for repossessions. The towing company gets their fee, the loan company gets their car which they then sell as fast as possible at a repo sale, and the debtor is now out a vehicle and is still liable for the amount the loan company didn't recover on the sale and apply toward the total amount due. As far as getting the vehicle back after repo - the debt is accelerated upon repossession, the debtor must pay the full amount due, plus repo and other fees. This almost never happens. If the debtor doesn't have everything the loan company promised in writing (the loan company's writing), there is virtually no other way to get the car back and regular payments reinstated. A lawyer may be able to help, but often the debtor has no money to pay for one. It is unfortunate, but self help repo prevention is often the debtor's best option. If the repo guy wants to come back with the sheriff, that's fine. At least it will give the debtor a little more time work things out with their loan company.

If the debtor is four months behind on their payments and aren't in the process of working things out with the loan company, they are probably only delaying the inevitable, but in the situation presented above (which is not uncommon) they may have to do what they've got to do. I'm a law abiding, conflict avoiding person, but I can't say I'd do things much differently if I were in his shoes.

lwsimon
April 10, 2005, 01:57 AM
The guy didn't come outside screaming and yelling, did he? If he was calm, so freaking what if he was armed on his own property? It turned out well, even if the repo guy was a bit of a wuss. You'd think he'd be a bit more used to people being armed, it being Texas and him being a repo man, someone walking out with a gun shuldn't have really phased them.

runswithscissors
April 10, 2005, 02:02 AM
Who STEALS your truck in broad daylight using a towtruck :confused: . He should have approached the repo man politely, showed him the receipt, and offered to let the repo man call the office and verify. They would all of had a good laugh, shook hands, and that would have been the end of it.

On the other hand, imagine the repo man was armed(many are) and felt frightened for his life. He might have pulled his gun and :( who knows. Guns are for saving your life, not your car(unless its really nice ;) )

I certainly don't knock this man for protecting himself as well as his property, just be careful is all.

c_yeager
April 10, 2005, 04:15 AM
Hi there sir, you're not repossesing my truck are you, because I just paid all the bills and have receipts; would you like to see them?

He should have approached the repo man politely, showed him the receipt, and offered to let the repo man call the office and verify.

See, the problem here is that he doesnt have a reciept since he is still "two weeks behind" on his payments. I think a lot of people are forgetting that. His truck isnt payed for, and his loan can be defaulted at any time. Like I said the real solution to this problem was for the guy to pay his own bills. You know, personal responsibility and all that, the same responsibility that comes with owning firearms.

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