Cops Using Impounded Cars as Personal Rental Fleet

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on July 21st, 2008

So you you were busted for drunk driving and your car was taken by the police and impounded for 30 days. Ever wonder what’s happening to it?

Missouri: Police Caught Driving Impounded Cars

Police in St. Louis seized cars, then freely drove them for months at a time. Perk extended to troubled daughter of police chief.

St. Louis, Mo.  July 20  -  Cars seized from motorists are being used as the personal rides of police officers and their relatives in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigative reporters uncovered the scandal while tracking down how Aimie Mokwa, 33, daughter of Police Chief Joe Mokwa, ended up driving vehicles registered to St. Louis Metropolitan Towing and its subsidiaries.

Like many cities across the nation, St. Louis has adopted an ordinance giving police officers the ability to grab automobiles from people suspected, not necessarily convicted, of certain crimes. Cars not recovered within thirty days are declared the property of St. Louis Metropolitan Towing, which splits profit from towing fees with the city. Such arrangements can generate millions in revenue for municipalities.

The St. Louis program had an additional benefit. The tow yard became a virtual rental car agency for local police officers who would take out "abandoned" cars for their own free, personal use for months at a time. The "test drive" privilege extended also to Aimie Mokwa.

If the officers and their relatives enjoyed the vehicles, they were offered the opportunity to purchase them at discounts of up to 75 percent. For example, Aimie Mokwa "rented" a one-year-old Dodge Neon that had been impounded in May 2001. In September 2002 she flipped the Neon after crashing into two parked cars on perfectly dry pavement.

Aimie Mokwa replaced the Neon with a 1999 Ford Escort that she purchased from the tow company for $1100, even though its book value was at least $3750. She rear-ended another car with the Escort in January 2003. Officers investigating the collision determined she had a blood alcohol level of 0.17, but they did not charge her with drunk driving. In December 2006, Aimie Mokwa bought a 2004 Chevy Malibu from the tow yard for $1500, despite the vehicle having a book value of at least $5850. Last October, she bought a 1999 Dodge Dakota for $850, even though the vehicle was worth at least $5025.

(Thanks to David O’Shea)


    well, this smells of strong polictical intent, and although the appearant dui charge or charges would be appropriate, i would not blame hewr for the appearant “favors” of the car deals. the car deals are obviuously a local polical dealing, and unfortunatntley, maybe a very nice, good farther, involved in the community anmd politics, is going to have to be subjected to the courts and political rivals, because of his daughters failure to drive carefuly, and have zero violations. when i was growing up inj highschool, there was a kid mu age, who’s farther was a typical local nj political entitinty, and a typical State entitity, to where even one could say he resemblemled gov kean… you know what i mean,… anyway… they had access to cars and things, my friend did, at age 17 and such… state cars, town cars,… busines cars, free gasoline, ect…. but my friend never got in this kind of trouble, and thus the light never shown on it… do you understand what i am saying? … now as far as impounded vehicles, … well, usually people get them out right away, or if they are leased or rewnted, or even financed cars, the compaines get them back asap,./;..// that still doesnmt make what happenewd right, i aggree , it is wrong to do this type of priviledge

  • David W

    Years ago (1989)There was a sting operation that involved drugs in the upstate SC area and Charlotte NC area. A fellow that was an heir to the Springs Mill textile industry located in Fort Mill ,SC got caught up in this after leaving a nightclub with a small amount of illegal substance found within his vehicle which actually belonged to another individual. His new Jauguar was seized. Being they literally stole it, he had resourses to send a message back, He went and bought a new one the next day. Maeanwhile, the head of the enforcement division that made the arrest was driving the car on a daily basis while it was supposably impounded for quite a period of time before trial. He lost a BMW as well along with having to pay for his incarceration. It supposably was linked to some sort of illegal transfer of substance.

    This is nothing new,,its just now becoming apparent that this has been happening for some time out of the public’s eye and now the public is becoming aware of “hidden” rules??

  • RichardAlan

    You remember the old saying; “If they weren’t cops, they’d be criminals” sounds true in this case perhaps?

  • koivisto

    Taking their cars isn’t enough. They should take their houses, bank accounts and let them rot in prison. They should not be allowed a trial or any recourse, the officers word is good enough for me. As a matter of fact they should be guilty from the point of arrest and shipped off to Guantanamo. DUI’s=terrorism.

  • joe

    There’s an old saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Giving the police the powers of judge, jury and executioner in DUI matters spits in the face of the justice system. “Suspects” are just that, and “the accused” are just that, neither term equals “convicted” until a judge or jury says so. Approaching the smell of alcohol like a smoking gun is hideous and wrong.

  • koivisto

    You got it Joe! If there is any smell of what is considered alcohol you are screwed on the spot and there “objective” tests will find you guilty just about every time.

  • David W

    It’s like Larry’s post on the California Supreme Court ruling about presenting evidence that all individuals are not the same and the partition ratio along with scientific evidence of absortion rates varys especially with time factors. They ignored that, said what you may blow or test after the fact is what they say is what it was at the time of one’s arrest.

    What did the dissenting judge say?? She said the court has just created the crime of ” having alcohol on one’s breath”

    Just one question? Where do the roots of their thinking come from? It certainly does not fall into any category of rational and common sense thinking.

    Power and self rightiousness certainly corrupts, and to read rulings like that are so far out in left field there isn’t any left field left


    the article failed to say if this was illegal or not

  • David W

    No, it isn’t illegal, but one is not allowed to offer scientific proof which may show a BAC level far below what one was accused of having at the time of arrest. So if you stop for a beer at a waterhole lets say after a hard days work like many use to do , drink one, leave ,then get stopped, you may as well plan on a trip to jail . That anything that can be done to inflate that BAC level or exagerate a level of so called impairment is going to be done in an effort to make sure you are convicted. And in the meantime, your not allowed to offer evidence to the contrary.

  • RichardAlan

    David you are correct,

    But very interesting how the Government has trained all of us to believe that line of thinking. Like “Sheeple” we think we have to offer “evidence” from the very moment we are stopped.

    Now remember the Miranda rights ” anything you say, can and will be used against you”

    This is the first thing that came to my mind when I was stopped. I invoked my 4th and 5th Amendment rights. My case was dismissed. The DMV tried to bribe/blackmail me with an already violated 14th Amendment, using the tricky little word “implied consent” the as if those two words were supposed to magically change anything?

    It’s laughable to think that two words in the english language used by the DMV is somehow gonna make a person tell on themselves, i.e. offer evidence to a public servant as a private citizen makes absolutely no sense at all.

    If we can train all the sheeple to not fall for this monkey business by the State we the people can take back our eroding Constitution.

    In my alleged DUI case the judge smile at me and the very pretty female prosecutor winked and smiled at me.

    don’t you think that the judge’s and the prosecutors are tired of watching good honest citizens admit to guilt when they’re not guilty, They’re tired of watching the Constitution erode, they’re tired of watching people “tell on themselves’, It makes everyone in this country very happy when someone stand up for their rights and the US Constitution even in a DUI case.

    This what we need to report, about the people who invoke the Amendment rights, the people who ‘Refuse” to play a part in the erosion of the their right and the US Constitution.

    Next time any of you get stopped “don’t tell on yourselves” remain silent offer no evidence from the very beginning of the stop, ask for a lawyer and a copy of the video. Invoke all your rights and demand
    a jury trial.

    You will be very surprised our US Constitution Guarantees it .

    See “No Reasonable Cause” The Movie
    Everyone needs to sit down and take notes DUI class 101.

  • David W

    You certainly are correct there Richard. When one reads the history on “implied consent”, one can see how legal “loopholes” were used to circumvent the right to free and un-interupted travel. It originally was a right with exception to commerce orientated travel(ie: taking goods to market for a transportation fee,etc).

    One would think the original arguements over this would not have held water(common sense wise), but there is no more common sense. Bad laws, bad rulings and those who took that “right” away hiding behind what they convinced the courts to do. The famous statement “the law says”………

  • RichardAlan

    Attorney F. Lee Bailey comes to mind. He had several DUI’s in the late 70’s early 80’s.

    I believe it was because of him that the State and all 50 states Amended the 14th Amendment in violation of it’s own self ironically, with the “implied consent” law.

    Considering that once a drivers license is issued it’s “your property” . Now based on a police officer observation your 14th Amendment rights are now violated because the state’s lawmakers are very clever in how they write and use words to get their way and “have it both ways” a double edged sword so to speak.

    The state gets is both ways, the private citizen only gets it one way, and is for some reason supposed to tell on himself when he gets stopped on a highway. ???

    It’s fear tactics; example: “boo” we are the DMV, the policeman said you smelled like alcohol were gonna take your license away for one year if you invoke your Amendment rights (I mean refuse to give us evidence)

    This is the oldest trick in the book, and the state is getting away with it, absent court convictions, and due process.

    Only problem is, some of us private citizen are hip to the shenanigans of the law and the state.

    I enjoy not having to drive right now. I don’t have to worry about pay for outrageous gas , I don’t have to be stressed about other drivers and their stupid driving habits, I’m on vacation for one year, I get to make signs and hang out at freeway exist get free money and tell my true story.

    Life is good.

    I’m a proud Patriotic American upholding our US Constitution… Show me the money!

  • David W

    Interesting how you say you don’t mind your temporary loss of license. After my initial frustration passed as to how I was “fooled”, I actually didn’t mind it either. Actually it was a pleasure to have someone else drive for awhile. And I did save a lot expense wise concerning fuel. I readjusted my life and actually streamlined a few things. So something positive came out of the experience. What really pissed me off though was the structure of the implied consent warning. The nonsense that followed me exercising my rights was not included in the warning. The screenings, assessments, costs. That was dirty pool.

    You have the right to remain silent, but if you do so, we get to do as we please , and the courts have ruled that we are not required to tell you what those penalties (and they are penalties) are going to be.

    That is not the American way I was under the understanding we had when I grew up.

    And people wonder why we have problems??? The writing is all over the wall…

  • RichardAlan

    F.Lee Bailey refused on every DUI he got.
    And the laws regarding drivers licenses’ were
    soon changed as to keep the people from catching on to their “right to refuse” (invoke your 4th and 5th) God forbid if we the people have any rights in the United States of America.

    You’re correct David, it’s the Government exacting it’s own revenge for using your Constitutional rights. The DMV has a strict set of procedures that they are supposed to follow, it’s in black in white.

    It’s the uneducated hearing officer who lacks a law degree, or the employee with a GED that tells you or decides your fate, and to top it off they change the rules or make them up as they go along, deviating from their own set of procedures. Human error or suffering from the “human condition” is what I like to call it.

    I have a document with my so called ‘disqualification’ from my class A license.

    It’s very clear and states that on April 3, of 2009 I will have to pay a small fee and my license will be reinstated on this date at this time. it’s in black and white.

    The Constitution actually does work, most people or sheeple believe it does not work, and it’s best to “be honest’ and tell on yourself to the police.

    I’m in less trouble right now for invoking my Constitutional rights, then if I had told on my self, admitted false guilt because I was simply charged with something, and threw myself on the mercy of the court.

    I would guess that 6 out 10 sheeple do this in regards to an alleged DUI.

    The state can charge a private citizen with anything! the state can also indict and convict a ham sandwich. ……

  • David W

    There was an article over on the RIDL site awhile back about a fellow that did just that. He placed himself at the mercy of the court and got a rude awakening. If I happen to find it I’ll link it.

    At the end he basically stated that doing that was probably one of the biggest mistakes he ever made in his life. They hammered the hell out of him.

  • RichardAlan

    I’d love to see it, sounds like a good read.

  • RichardAlan

    Read this link, this is from
    a former DUI prosecutor, who says he was embarrassed to be involved with convicting honest hard working American citizen for these bogus allegations.

  • David W

    Found the story. It was under “arrest victim’s stories” on the RIDL site.

    Lost respect for authority

    I was pulled over by state troopers and blew a .17. Although I knew I could fight it and win on a technicality, I realized how stupid I had been to drive, so I didn’t get a lawyer and plead guilty. I knew the standard punishment and thought “If you can’t do the time…” was a good rule. However, instead of getting the minimum sentence (3 year suspension, $3,000 in fines, 3 month “School-10,” MADD panel, 10 AA meetings), the judge decided to double the fines, upgrade to the 9 month “School-10″ (which includes an AA meeting a week), plus 60 AA meetings in 90 days–then he added underage drinker penalties (2 meetings with teenagers who felt they’d been unjustly accused, a trip to the coroner to witness an autopsy, and a 1,000 word essay); BTW, I was 23! I feel that the judge used my personal code of honor as an excuse to double the state’s income and make me an example. I could have been a weasel, got a lawyer and got off clean, but instead I tried to be responsible and got screwed… There’s something wrong with that system!