New Ohio law prevents police from charging victims to get stolen property back

Rep. Williams proposed the law after watching a 13 Action News report.
Crime victims in Ohio no longer have to pay police departments to get their stolen property back.
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 6:24 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Crime victims in Ohio no longer have to pay police departments to get their stolen property back thanks to a new law enacted this week after a story by 13 Action News reporter Sophie Bates.

Tiffany Lawrence could not believe she was charged $500 to get her stolen car out of the Toledo Police Department’s impound lot.

“Why am I paying for something I had nothing to do with or control over?” Lawrence said.

We introduced her to our viewers in February. One of those viewers was Ohio Rep. Joshua Williams, Bates talked to him back in April.

“Even one dime to get her property back is too much for a victim,” Rep. Williams told 13 Action News at the time.

Williams pushed to change a law that requires police departments to return stolen property to crime victims but allows agencies to charge them.

“We simply amended that statute that says you cannot ask them to pay for any charges when you return that property,” Williams said.

The change was included in the state’s budget that was signed into law this week by Gov. DeWine. 13 Action News reached out to TPD to see how the change will impact the impound lot.

“If there’s a new law, our law department is going to have to analyze that and we’re going to comply with what the state law is,” Lt. Paul Davis, a Public Information Officer for TPD said.

13 Action News also touched base with Rep. Williams again.

“Thank you for your reporting. You highlighted an issue and that’s how we get things done in Columbus,” Rep. Williams said. “That’s how we work for our constituents.”

If a police department tries to charge you to get your property back, Williams says to contact him so he can hold them accountable and ensure the amendment is being enforced.