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No sign of missing cars in Selma Police Department drug case

The two vehicles taken as evidence in 2006 that have disappeared seem to have also dropped off the face of the Earth.

The Selma Times-Journal obtained the VIN numbers of three vehicles taken by the Selma Police Department in 2006 as evidence in a drug case. One of the cars, a 1990 Honda Accord EX, belonged to Desi Beavers. The other vehicles, both 1994 Chevrolet Caprices, belonged to Aaron Harris. Both men served time for their offenses.

Generally, the district attorney’s office files for a forfeiture of property seized by law enforcement agencies during a drug bust. However, in the case of Beavers and Harris, the papers were not filed in a timely manner. The judge ordered the property returned to the two men.

Bruce Maddox, an attorney from Montgomery who represented Beavers and Harris, said the city returned one of the Caprices to Harris. The Caprice’s VIN number matched a four-door sedan with rear wheel drive.

A reporter for The Selma Times-Journal took the VIN numbers from court cases and ran them through a Carfax Vehicle History Report. One of the Caprices showed up as having an updated title issued by the owner who moved the vehicle to a new location. The vehicle, which is black, was registered in Georgia with the Motor Vehicle Department in Fort Benning. It was issued title number 777853082183076. The registration in Georgia was dated Aug. 5, 2008.

The vehicle was initially registered Jan. 15, 1994, in Montgomery. The first owner was reported April 13, 1994. The odometer registered 10 miles and it was titled in Montgomery. The car was sold on Sept. 28, 2006 and registered in Selma. That was after the cases appeared on the docket in July 2006. The order to return the property came from the court in 2007, but the next entry on the Carfax Vehicle History is May 15, 2008, which a vehicle purchase was reported in Fort Benning, Ga. A new title for this vehicle was issued in Phenix City on June 10, 2008, just before the car was sold in Georgia. No other reports were available for this vehicle.

The white Caprice owned by Harris was originally registered in Selma on April 15, 1994. The title was updated and the first owner reported on June 1, 1994, in Selma. The next entry shows the car was sold to another owner in Selma on June 30, 2004. No other records follow the vehicle. The Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles did not report the vehicle as salvaged, rebuilt or junked.

The VIN number of the white Caprice was run through AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports for more information, which showed that after June 30, 2004, the car’s registration was renewed twice more in Selma — October 21, 2004, and Oct. 20, 2005. No other entries show on AutoCheck for the vehicle past 2005.

As for Beavers’ 1990 Honda Accord EX, the first time it appears on Carfax is June 3, 1995, when the vehicle passed emissions inspection at an inspection station in Atlanta. At that time, the car had an odometer reading of 92,128 miles. On Aug. 27, 1998, the car again passed emissions inspection in Georgia with an odometer reading of 147,215 miles. A title for the car was issued in Powder Springs, Ga. On Oct. 7, 1999, the car was sold at an auto auction in the Southeast Region on Jan. 13, 2000. At that time, the Honda was listed as a dealer vehicle with 167,307 miles on the odometer.

Fourteen days after the auto auction, the Honda was registered with a new owner in Thomaston, Ga. On Feb. 15, 2000, a title was issued in Powder Springs, Ga. Less than a year later, the Honda’s registration was renewed in Thomaston. And four days later, on Feb. 4, 2002, the registration was updated when the owner moved the vehicle to a new location.

On Feb. 6, 2004, the Honda wound up in another auto auction. It was sold in Georgia, listed as a dealer vehicle with an odometer reading of 180,880. In March 2004, the vehicle failed emissions inspection twice in Georgia. That was the end of any records for the Honda.

On Tuesday, Sgt. Jimmy Martin, who was police chief in 2006 when the vehicles were taken as evidence, told the Selma City Council the department filed the proper paperwork to have the cars condemned and turned over to the city. He said the district attorney failed to file the proper papers in the court to have the two vehicles forfeited over to the city.

But that’s not true, said Andrew Arrington, who worked in the district attorney’s office at the time.

“If you will look at the civil court file, you will see the date when the PD turned the files over to the DA and that the DA filed the paperwork that same day or the next,” Arrington said in an e-mail sent to The Selma Times-Journal on Wednesday. “The paper work was turned over to the DA months after the property was taken.”

Arrington said the DA has no way of knowing what property has been seized by a law enforcement agency until that agency turns in the paper work. Arrington said he handled the condemnation cases for the DA as head of the 4th Circuit Drug Task Force.

“Months before the property in question was ever seized, I prepared and gave a primer to the SPD Drug Unit explaining the proper way to handle these type cases. The material stressed the urgency of timely filing, which is why the vehicle was not condemned to the city. Long story made short, the PD did not timely file the paper work and that is why the city had to return the property.”