Settlement paid for missing car

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The owner of a 1991 Cadillac Brougham taken during a 2006 narcotics raid by the Selma Police Department has settled for $1,200 for her vehicle.

The missing Cadillac was the latest in several instances of cars confiscated by the Selma Police Department under former police chief Jimmy Martin. Those cars were not returned to their rightful owners.

The money for the Cadillac came from the police department’s budget, according to a July 8 memorandum from Chief William T. Riley III to Mayor George Evans.

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“This car was never officially in writing given back to her,” the mayor said.

The Selma City Council approved the expenditure Tuesday night.

Veronica Barron received the settlement. The car was registered in her name and confirmed by the police department, Riley said.

Last month Riley submitted a written report to the city which placed blame of lost cars on lack of supervision over paperwork involving seized property.

In April Barron read about other cars reported missing. She came to the police department to ask about her car, the Cadillac.

The report states Barron said she had returned to the police department in 2007 to recover the car, but she could not remember with whom she spoke at the time.

Police authorities ran the records but could not find any paperwork. Officers could not find the keys to the Cadillac.

Council member the Rev. Dr. Cecil Williamson said Riley told the council a month ago the car was not missing.

“Now it is missing,” Williamson said Tuesday.

Evans said the police department lost the car, but there was no record of Barron receiving the car.

“The young lady came back an since the police department was giving money for lost cars, well, nobody knows what happened to the car,” the mayor said.

Council member Dr. Monica Newton told Riley she understood people could make mistakes and the missing cars did not happen on his watch.

“You know, where I work and how I was raised, three strikes and that’s it,” Newton said, “and I’m a person of my word and I think if there are any more cars, I’m going to be the first one to call for some kind of hearing because I think, you know, I think accidents can happen, but you know, multiple cars do not go missing and so I think this has got to be the end of the line.”