Can an ownerless vehicle be stolen?
Police left with head-scratching case of abandoned vehicle, later wrecked
Hillsboro police still are looking for the owner of a possibly stolen vehicle that was abandoned near an alley in Hillsboro a week ago, and turned up at the site of a wreck four days later out in the county.
Police were called Dec. 9 about a 1993 Ford Explorer blocking a resident’s access to a private alley. Police and the landowner decided to let the vehicle sit a few days in hopes that someone would claim it.
The registration, which expired in 2017, traced to a man near Pottawatomie and Riley Counties, but law enforcement there were unable to track him down.
“We’ve been trying to locate the registered owner, but we have three years we’re trying to fill in,” Hillsboro officer John Huebert said. “Anything can happen, so we haven’t been able to locate who the owner of the vehicle is. If the guy is deceased or moved on to another state, if he’s sold it and so forth. We don’t know who the rightful owner is.”
The vehicle was moved, and the landowner reported seeing people move in and out of it.
The SUV was found Saturday by sheriff’s deputies after an accident near 190th and Holly Rds.
While the accident would fall in the sheriff’s department’s jurisdiction, Hillsboro police still can’t file a report of possible theft of the Ford.
“Because we can’t find the owner, we don’t even know if we can file an actual theft of a motor vehicle report,” he said. “It’s one of those no victim, no crime situations. It’s kind of weird.”