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News 5 Investigates: Police planned to sell crime victim's car at auction instead of returning it

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Mary Antrim's car Mary Antrim's car
Lt. Howard Black Lt. Howard Black
Colorado Springs police cruiser Colorado Springs police cruiser

A Pueblo couple's car was stolen in June and later recovered by Colorado Springs police officers. 

According to records obtained by the I-TEAM, Mary and Clyde Antrim's Ford Crown Victoria sat in a police impound lot for more than a month---eventually racking up fees.  

The couple says cops never called them to pick up their car. Instead, News 5 Investigates discovered police planned to sell it at an auction. 

Colorado Springs police have nothing to say on camera about this case, but Mary Antrim is talking after she says police would not give her car back or answer her phone calls. 

When she found out her car was going to be sold at auction, she called News 5 Investigates for help. 

The couple's car was stolen back on June 1 in the 1700 block of E. 9th Street in Pueblo. 

The car was later recovered 45 miles away in Colorado Springs following an aggravated robbery at Dillard's on Briargate Blvd. 

"They (police) told me it was involved in a robbery and that it was being held for evidence and that's all I was told," Mary said. 

That information was give to Mary on June 5---more than a month ago!

"I've called them (police) every week to find out where the car is at and what's going on with the car," Mary said. "No one has called me back." 

Fast fast forward to July 10---Mary logs onto her computer and discovers her car is set to be auctioned off in September. 

"I was dumbfounded," she said. "I thought how in the world can the car go from being on hold for evidence and now it's on hand and being ready to go to auction. I couldn't believe that." 

Neither could we!

We reached out to police who refused to address the situation on camera or provide a formal comment. However, they did send us the following timeline: 

June 1: Vehicle stolen from Pueblo and used during a robbery

June 5: Colorado Springs police informed Mrs. Antrim her car was impounded and "on hold" pending further investigation

July 7: Mrs. Antrim's vehicle was ready for pick-up and according to Colorado Springs police, a letter was sent to Mrs. Antrim stating "her vehicle was at the CSPD Impound Lot and charges have accumulated as a result of being impounded. The letter advised that if the vehicle was not claimed, it would be sold on 9/11/17". 

While Colorado Springs police claimed they sent Mrs. Antrim that letter on July 7th, it was not postmarked until July 11th---the same day we contacted police about Antrim's case. 

We then asked police about their mail policies. 

"The mail is sent out and picked up daily from the Impound Lot and from the police department," Sgt. John Garza said via email. 

So why was the letter postmarked 5 days later? Police have not provided us with an answer....yet! 

News 5 Investigates also filed an open records request for any phone call records (if any) showing how many times Colorado Springs police or the CSPD Impound Lot called Mrs. Antrim about her vehicle prior to putting it on a September 2017 auction list. 

"Received," Lt. Howard Black responded. 

As of July 24, the Colorado Springs Police Department has not provided News 5 with the requested information. 

"I'm still waiting for the city to give me an estimate of what this is going to cost, if anything," Lt. Black said in an email. 

In addition to the timeline discrepancy provided by Colorado Springs police, News 5 Investigates also discovered the department appeared to violate its own policy regarding impounded vehicles. 

"It is the policy of the Colorado Springs Police Department that victims of crimes whose vehicles are towed as part of the criminal investigation will not be charged tow/impound storage fees while at the Impound facility," Sgt. Garza wrote via email. 

Yet we found the department wanted to charge Mary $178 to get her car back. 

"I need my car for my doctors appointments that I have to go to," Mary said. "That's my transportation and I'm 80 years old and I'd like to have my car back so I can do what I have to do." 

News 5 Investigates contacted Colorado Springs police on July 11th. The next day, Colorado Springs police called Mary and told her they would waive all impound fees and release her vehicle. 

"I think your calls obviously helped 100-percent," Mary said. 

We went to the Impound Lot to verify Mary's car would be released without any problems. We did confirm her vehicle was released for free. 

Antrim says police have not apologized for what happened, but advised her they were "looking into it". 

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