LINCOLN PARK, Mich. - Camping is an American past time, and the 4th of July weekend is a popular time to hit the road.
So, Dale Rogalski packed up his Dodge Caravan on the night of July 3rd.
When Rogalski woke up the morning of July 4, he was ready to go, but his van was already gone.
Rogalski's initial reaction was that it was a joke.
"The only other person who has a key is my father and he wouldn't play that kind of joke," says Rogalski.
Multiple calls made to find van
When reality set in, "It was kind of scary a little bit. That someone would have the nerve to go to your driveway and take your vehicle," he told Ruth to the Rescue.
Rogalski reported the theft to Lincoln Park police and didn't hear anything from anyone until a letter appeared in his mailbox on July 20. It was from the Wayne County Prosecutor informing him he could come to court in connection with a criminal case.
"I called and I said, 'have you located my vehicle? She said 'we can't give you any information about your vehicle,'" says Rogalski.
Recovered Van Still "Missing"
His conversation with the Wayne County Prosecutor's office was 16 days after his van was first reported stolen, and his first indication that it had been found. This lead to a round of calls to police stations, impound lots and towing companies.
"I've made at least 30 to 60 phone calls in the last couple of weeks trying to find my vehicle," says Rogalski. "I was getting a lot of passing the buck type thing."
He was determined to get his van back.
"The van was my parents vehicle so it has a lot of sentimental value," says Rogalski.
His parents are no longer able to drive so he uses it to help them get around. He said he even had a step stool in the back to help his Mom get in and out of the van.
Recovered Van Found
Rogalski said he felt like he was out of options so he contacted Ruth to the Rescue for help. After Ruth to the Rescue called Wayne County Prosecutors, Dale was finally told his van was at Bobby's towing on Detroit's west side.
"I don't know what I would do without Ruth to the Rescue coming and helping me with this," says Rogalski.
What went wrong?
At first, Detroit Police told Ruth to the Rescue it was a routing error within a police data base. However, they called back 24 hours later to say it wasn't their responsibility to notify Rogalski, it was the responsibility of the Lincoln Park Police Department.
Lincoln Park Police responded, saying that they did not have confirmation the vehicle was recovered until August 1, after Ruth to the Rescue started investigating.
Meanwhile, when Rogalski called the impound lot someone told him he would need to pay $251 dollars to get it back.
Ruth to the Rescue spoke with police about the charge. They explained that since there was an evidence hold on the van, until the day we called, storage fees have been waived.
Rogalski has picked up his van, and paid just $75 to get it back. Sadly, he had to have it towed to a repair shop, but at least its back in his possession.
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