Bike riders in Fort Worth, Texas, are furious to discover their city has a policy in place that requires victims of bicycle theft to pay a fee in exchange for their stolen and recovered bikes.
Megan Breedlove found this out the hard way when her husband and their 11-year-old daughter Ellie had their bikes stolen after they left them on the front porch of their house. Police found the two bikes and called the Breedlove family, but what they had to say did not make them happy.
“And we were told there was going to be a fee for picking up to pick up each bike,” Breedlove told WFAA. “We said, ‘Well, it’s not our fault that the bikes were stolen. Why do we have to pay a fee?’ And we were informed that was city policy.”
The fee to have their bikes returned was $33.75 per bike, which Breedlove says is even more than the price they paid to buy Ellie’s used bicycle.
Several citizens and local politicians are working to change the law, which is applicable in several cities across the nation and allows them to charge fees for towing and storing recovered vehicles. Texas Senator Jane Nelson tried, but failed, to introduce the Quain Law seven years ago – named after a woman whose stolen car was auctioned off after she couldn’t afford the fee to have it returned to her.
“To pay to get something back is concerning to me,” said Fort Worth Councilwoman Ann Zadeh. “Just because something has been done for years and years doesn’t mean it should be done that way going forward.”
After their story became public, the Breedloves’ fees were dropped. But the policy remains in place.