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Q. In response to the last question about the car broken down in the Walmart parking lot: why would CSOs spend a lot of time researching what happens to those cars if they're on private property? Seems like a waste of time.
Dear Juneau Resident,
There are several reasons for researching the ownership of a vehicle abandoned on private property. First, there is the constitutional right to be free of unreasonable seizure when the government disposes of someone's property. If we too quickly tell Walmart, 'Yeah, the car is yours, do what you will' without some due diligence to make sure the car is abandoned, JPD would end up buying replacement cars. We have to make sure the car wasn't stolen from an absentee owner and dumped there...that kind of thing.
Secondly, if someone has abandoned a car on private or public property we would like to give them a citation and try to hold them responsible. If we can't find the person the private property owner ends up with the vehicle and usually aren't happy about it. If the vehicle is on public property the taxpayers often get stuck with the disposal bill.