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  1. #1
    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Revenge on police, probably not a good idea

    Towing Gresham police car was a mistake, defendant says
    Trial judge doesn't buy the tow-truck driver's lengthy explanation

    Thursday, February 05, 2009
    AIMEE GREEN
    The Oregonian Staff

    Tow-truck driver Steven Gerald Syverson told a long and convoluted story in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Wednesday to explain how he managed to pick up a Gresham police car by mistake.

    First of all, he told the judge, it was past 2 a.m. and very dark at the apartment complex.

    Syverson, a driver for Retriever Towing, hadn't turned on his truck's lights, to avoid tipping off owners that their cars were about to be towed.

    My lights, they're bright. . . . I don't want people coming out, because if it's their car, I'm going to have to release it," he explained.

    Exhaust from his tailpipe was obscuring his rear view. And finally, Syverson said, he'd hurt his neck earlier and couldn't turn to see what he was loading.

    Circuit Judge Eric Bloch didn't believe Syverson's testimony and found the 33-year-old man guilty of two felonies: unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and first-degree aggravated theft. The judge said he believed witnesses who said Syverson was angry and wanted to get back at police for writing him two speeding tickets.

    The judge cited an Oregon statute that says police officers responding to emergencies are exempt from parking laws. He said attaching the marked police car to the tow truck was an unlawful taking of the car.

    Syverson will be sentenced in April. The judge could give Syverson no jail time or send him to prison for as long as 32 months.

    Syverson put himself on the wrong side of the law in the early morning of Dec. 13, 2007. Three Gresham police officers had parked their cruisers at the Kempton Downs apartments, near Mt. Hood Community College, to respond to a report of domestic violence.

    During a two-day trial, Syverson insisted there had been a white SUV parked between his tow truck and one of the police cruisers before he started to back up. He had intended to pick up the SUV by backing his lift under it. But he said the owner apparently moved the SUV in those few seconds, and he ended up with the patrol car.

    A former co-worker of Syverson's undermined that testimony, saying Syverson called him a few days before the incident and told him he was upset about receiving a second speeding ticket.

    "He told me he wanted revenge," said tow-truck driver Casey Lund. "He was telling me he was thinking about towing one of the cop cars."

    Syverson said Lund must have misconstrued what he'd said -- and that he would never try to tow a marked police car.

    Gresham police Officer Tyson Conroy testified that Syverson told him the patrol car was being towed because it was parked in a fire lane.

    Conroy told Syverson that the officers were responding to an emergency call. Syverson released the Crown Victoria and muttered something about a speeding ticket.

    Conroy said Syverson hopped in his truck and tried to leave. Syverson refused to get out when Conroy told him to do so, and when the truck started to move, police laid down a spike strip and blocked Syverson's path with one of their cars.

    Syverson locked himself in his truck for an hour, waiting for his boss to arrive before stepping out to be interviewed. He testified that "I watch cop shows all the time" and didn't want to get out until he had a witness.

    Officer Tom Pohlman, whose car Syverson tried to tow, testified that he remembered assisting another officer who had stopped Syverson for speed racing. Pohlman said Syverson was so angry he banged his steering wheel and wadded up the ticket.

    Syverson, however, explained to the judge that he wasn't angry about receiving the citation.

    "That night, I was upset because I was in a very tough situation because I lost my flashlight," Syverson said.

    In her closing arguments, defense attorney Kristen Jorgensen West expressed exasperation with her client's testimony.

    "I don't pretend to know what's inside of Mr. Syverson's head," she said. But West said that even if her client hadn't been "entirely truthful," it was a stretch to convict him of aggravated theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, because he didn't intend to steal the car. He only wanted to tow it.

    Prosecutor Aaron Knott, however, argued Syverson wouldn't have taken the police car to the impound lot because he knew he'd be fired. Syverson probably would have ditched it somewhere, Knott said.

    In any case, Syverson was fired by Retriever Towing after his arrest. Manager Chuck White said his company doesn't endorse such behavior, has taken heat from the public for it, and it's the first time in his 21 years in the business that he'd heard of a driver trying to tow a marked police car.

    "There are some things that are just absolute common sense," White said, "and that is one of them."

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/orego...440.xml&coll=7
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  2. #2
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    What a tool! That was hilarious! Somebody tows my unit while I'm working is going to go to jail on similar charges too.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

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  3. #3
    jmur5074's Avatar
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    We had a towing contract with the biggest towing company in the city. I was at one of our universities one day for a class and parked in a university parking spot that requires a parking permit (permit required, but it wasn't reserved for a specific person). I went to their parking control office just to be polite and inform them that I was parked in that spot, with a fully marked squad car.

    The woman told me that if I left my FULLY MARKED SQUAD in that spot she would have it towed by the towing company we have a contract with...and she was a total crotch about it.

    I essentially told her "Good luck" and left. I know every one of their drivers on a first name basis, they know better than to touch one of our squads.

    My car was still there when I came back.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.

  4. #4
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    He deserves to get some time in jail.....let him know exactly where he stands in the pecking order.
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper


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  5. #5
    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    We had a towing contract with the biggest towing company in the city. I was at one of our universities one day for a class and parked in a university parking spot that requires a parking permit (permit required, but it wasn't reserved for a specific person). I went to their parking control office just to be polite and inform them that I was parked in that spot, with a fully marked squad car.

    The woman told me that if I left my FULLY MARKED SQUAD in that spot she would have it towed by the towing company we have a contract with...and she was a total crotch about it.

    I essentially told her "Good luck" and left. I know every one of their drivers on a first name basis, they know better than to touch one of our squads.

    My car was still there when I came back.
    That's a pretty good tow company, really. Gresham is a suburb of Portland and I really don't know much about the culture of that dept., but we generally aren't hard on the drivers of the tow companies we have contracts with when it comes to traffic laws. They're good to us by getting to scenes quickly, hooking up and getting the cars out so we try to return the favor when we can. So I suspect that unless the cop that wrote him was a traffic cossack, he must have been flying low to get a speeding ticket to begin with.
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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  6. #6
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    That's a pretty good tow company, really. Gresham is a suburb of Portland and I really don't know much about the culture of that dept., but we generally aren't hard on the drivers of the tow companies we have contracts with when it comes to traffic laws. They're good to us by getting to scenes quickly, hooking up and getting the cars out so we try to return the favor when we can. So I suspect that unless the cop that wrote him was a traffic cossack, he must have been flying low to get a speeding ticket to begin with.
    I'm guessing the tow truck driver has some personality problems and emotional disorders.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

 

 

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