An employee at a local car lot was arrested on a felony theft charge after he reportedly spotted a woman’s van, which he said he assumed was abandoned, and called a towing service to have it moved to the Dan Smith Motor Co. lot.
“They had no right. It’s never been on your lot. We have no dealings with Dan Smith (Motor Co.) at all,” said LaTonya Gibson, the van’s owner. “They picked it up without any paperwork.”
According to Rome police and Floyd County Jail reports:
Bradley Douglas Robinson, 66, of 14 McCord Drive, was jailed Tuesday and released on a $3,500 bond. When police went to arrest Robinson on Monday afternoon he entered a “distressed state” and was taken to Floyd Medical Center. He was treated and released the same day, according to hospital spokesman Dan Bevels.
Rome police have opened up an investigation and it is being led by detective Pete Sailors, according to Capt. Roy Willingham.
“It sounds like it may carry over into some other cases,” he said.
Gibson said the 2007 Chrysler Town & Country, which had been completely paid for and was put in her possession following her mother’s death from cancer on Sept. 25, had been at Rodriguez Auto Repair, 430 Decatur St., since early July. Around 3:30 p.m. Monday, she drove by the shop and noticed the van was gone.
Shop workers told Gibson the van had been taken away by Rome Automotive & Towing. She went to the business and initially was told there was no paperwork on it being towed. However, she then found out it had been dropped off at Dan Smith Motor Co.
“Between me and my sisters we were angry and we were hurting,” Gibson said.
Police were called to the business and began questioning Robinson, who initially said he called the wrecker out to pick up a vehicle matching the van’s description and he had repo paperwork on it.
“Mr. Robinson was unable to provide any paperwork or repo order for the vehicle,” the police report stated. “(He) continued to state that he believed there to be a mix up on the vehicle and the tow truck driver had mistakenly towed the wrong vehicle.”
Robinson told police he kept the van at his lot “until they could figure out whose it was and what to do with it.”
“It’s kind of like God led us to go back there,” said Gibson, referring to the happenstance of driving by Rodriguez Auto.
Gibson’s mother’s belongings, which “are all we have left of our mother,” were still in the van.
“Had we not found this out, what would he have done with this vehicle?” she said. “I honestly believe they were watching this vehicle and thought it was abandoned and picked it up.