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By Justin Adams
/ CBS Colorado
Car thefts have been plaguing the Colorado community for years. So far, the numbers are down from last year with 27,429 cars reported stolen in 2023, according to the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center.
Jennifer Samuel was one of the car theft victims when her Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen in the middle of the night in July. It took her months to get a resolution.
Ring camera footage from a neighbor two doors down from her home showed a truck carrying her car away in an enclosed trailer. Her car was recovered the next day and a custom detailer discovered the wires behind the steering wheel were cut. It also tested positive for amphetamines.
Even after it was cleaned and repaired, Jennifer didn’t feel comfortable driving the car again, especially with her kids inside.
She reached out to a claims adjuster with her insurance company and wasn’t satisfied with the response.
“We assure you that the car is clean and safe for your family,” Samuel recalled. “But they also said, check your documents. And to me, that seems not very reassuring.”
She decided to drive the car but quickly realized there were more issues with her car.
“Lots of things with the sensors. The horn’s not working. So, they clipped a lot of things. It’s at the shop now still after three months later. And they said this is such a big project, this is the Jeep dealership, that it’s taking some time to get this done,” she said.
Samuel’s insurance company wouldn’t total her car since they said it was cleaned.
David Cardella, CEO of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association, says insurance companies shy away from totaling cars since the lack of new car inventory is driving up the value of used cars.
“If you have a vehicle that’s worth money, the insurance company is not going to want to total it for that full amount if they believe they can recover some of that value,” Cardella said.
Another issue popped up when she realized her insurance company didn’t cover her rental. That is the case for many people as not all rental car costs are covered. Cardella recommends that if you must park your car on the street, to get a club which would lock your steering wheel.
“Get that club. Put it on the wheel. If you must park on the street like most of us do in the city, prepare it and protect your vehicle as much as possible,” he said.
To get a club for your car, it will run you about $50 and if you wanted to sell your car, you must disclose that it has been stolen.
Justin Adams is a reporter at CBS News Colorado. Read his latest reports or check out his bio and send him an email.
First published on November 2, 2023 / 2:05 PM MDT
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