Tow lot charges Army veteran hundreds to retrieve stolen car

HOUSTON – At 29 years old, Alisha Cooper sets the burglar alarm on her apartment every time she leaves the house. 

She does this after her north Houston apartment was broken into and ransacked and her 2007 Dodge Charger was stolen out of her garage on March 10 in broad daylight.

“I came home after 2 hours and everything that I had worked hard for was gone," Cooper said. “I basically live in fear now."

But make no mistake, Cooper is anything but weak. She is a warrior who has served 6 years in the United States Army, serving some of that time in Iraq. So when she was ripped off, she immediately called the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and filed an official crime report. She also called everyday to check on the status of her stolen car.

Weeks went by.

“One time the lady on the phone said, I guess she got tired of me calling, so she was like, ‘If we get your car in we’ll notify you,” Cooper said.

The problem is, Alisha was not notified.

Her car was actually found one day after it was stolen and was taken to The Best Auto Storage Lot in Houston.

Harris County sheriff's officials say they didn’t know the car had been recovered and was being stored, because whoever stole the car changed the license plates.

The Sheriff's Department tells us that on March 24, Houston police ran a check on that car and the stolen plates and determined the car belonged to an auto-theft victim. That’s when Alisha was finally notified to pick up her car, but by then she had racked up more than 14 days of storage fees - totaling more than $600. Money she would wind up paying out of her own pocket.

“That I had to pay $603 just to get my stolen car back, the car that was stolen out of my garage. It’s definitely not my fault,” Cooper said.

We at Channel 2 Investigates agree. We contacted the owners of The Best Auto Storage Lot and told them all that had happened to Cooper over the past 2 weeks. We asked them if they would reduce that $603.55 bill and refund at least some of Cooper’s money.

In the end, the owners of the car lot agreed to give Cooper back more than half of her money, writing her a check for $313, charging her for just one day storage, taxes and fees instead of 16 days.