Violence against repo men is on the rise. [AP]

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  1. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Well, gee – that may be because they’re working more than ever!

  2. TKOtheKDR says:

    Emilo Estevez wanted for questioning.

  3. Coles_Law says:

    I’m honestly torn on this one. Nobody deserves violence just for doing their job, but if I’m woken up at 3 am because I hear people fiddling with my car, I’d assume it was being stolen. I’d call the cops, but I know others would not hesitate to arm themselves and investigate, which leads to tragedies such as this. Maybe limit repos to 7am-9pm?

  4. DeleteThisAccount says:

    I rather go work at McDonalds before I succumb to being the scum of the earth Repo-guy. They are right down there with debt collectors in my book.

    If something is no longer the property of someone else, get law enforcement to notify the person that the car/whatever is going to be repossessed and take it back in the day time, during reasonable hours.

    • matt1978 says:

      @AngrySicilian: Yeah, that sounds like a GREAT idea. Why not give your local PD or SD another task to fit in while fighting crime. I’m sure they have nothing better to do than track down deadbeats, who I’m also sure would stay RIGHT IN PLACE as they waited for the bank’s tow truck.

      • humphrmi says:

        @matt1978: It amazes me how many people don’t know the difference between civil and criminal law.

        • cf27 says:

          @humphrmi: You’re right it is amazing. Did you know that the local Sheriff’s office is often instrumental in civil law? Who do you think serves people with process? Who goes to a house that’s being foreclosed on? Typically, those are Sheriff’s deputies.

          There’s normally a fee associated with their doing so, but that’s already part of their job.

          • humphrmi says:

            @cf27: Sheriffs are hired off duty as process servers. Yay. You want a sheriff coming to your house when you’re late with your cable bill? Maybe we should restart debtors prisons, too.

            • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

              @humphrmi: It depends on your county and state. In my county, ONLY sheriffs can serve process. You cannot hire a private process server. It’s convenient, since they just have a process-service office right off the county clerk’s office, so you go fill out your process paperwork right after you file your documents, and it only costs $28 for a simple service. In other counties in my state, you can hire the sheriff or you can hire a private process server.

      • shepd says:

        @matt1978:

        The police get paid (very well) for dealing with these sorts of matters. More than enough to hire plenty of policemen just to process these things. And, if you think about it, you don’t need particularly capable policemen to do this sort of work, so you don’t necessarily need to pay them the same.

        It *should* be a money maker for the police. If it isn’t, they need to raise their rates.

        • David Brodbeck says:

          @shepd: I don’t know where you live, but in most areas I’ve lived in the police were understaffed and underfunded and had a hard enough time just keeping order. Where I currently live they recently announced that, due to budget cuts, they would no longer be able to investigate fraud claims under $10,000, for example. They really don’t have time to deal with people who skip car payments.

        • heart.shaped.rock says:

          @shepd: Um, I’m not sure where you live, but here our police aren’t paid “very well.” Yikes.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @matt1978: Logically you would charge a fee to do it. If the police charged a 100 dollar fee for a repo, it would generate cash.

    • warf0x0r says:

      @AngrySicilian: Repo men go out and work hard, debt collectors just call and call and call. It’s only a level above telemarketers. I respect the hard work repo men go through. Plus if I issued someone a loan and they didn’t pay me back, I’d want compensation if I could get it.

    • wgrune says:

      @AngrySicilian:

      The problem is that the people don’t want to have “their” property repossessed and will go to great lengths to hide/avoid/escape the clutches of the repo man.

      Repo men exist because the cops don’t have the time to deal with everyone who quits paying their loans.

      They won’t repo your car if you are late on one or two payments; it takes several months of non-payment and notices from the bank before a repo man is dispatched so it shouldnt come as a surprise to the driver of the car when it gets hooked up in the middle of the night.

    • rpm773 says:

      @AngrySicilian: Delinquent payments on a car/boat/whatever is civil matter between that borrower and the bank, and therefore outside the realm of law enforcement. The bank is reclaiming its property…it’s just employing a 3rd party to repossess it.

      When that happens is up to the repossession team, but I suspect it’s going to go over no more easily during daylight hours than at night.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @rpm773: When foreclosures get ugly and the people won’t leave, you know the sheriff gets involved, right?

        When someone attacks a repo man trying to collect what is delinquent, they’re generally supposed to leave and then come back with the law backing them up. Seems perfectly reasonable to me for the police to keep order.

        • rpm773 says:

          @Applekid: Of course. But that’s different than having the police do the repossession or having the police getting involved before there’s an incident such as you’re describing.

          Let’s get one thing straight: The repossession happens after the business relationship between the bank and borrower has broken down. It has to be assumed that the borrower is not interested in cooperating with the repossession. Ergo, surprise plays an important role in whether the repossession is successful or not. Unfortunately, that’s what makes it a dangerous job.

    • DeleteThisAccount says:

      @AngrySicilian: Christ some of you people are complete assholes on the internet, just an FYI. I hope you don’t come down on people like that in person.

      Okay so it IS a civil matter, up until the point when the firearms come out. Maybe we should get state legislators to take a look at this issue and regulate the industry.

    • relax_guy says:

      @AngrySicilian:

      where do people who dont pay their bills… essentially stealing from companies, who in turn have to lay off honest people.. who then can’t pay their bills….

      i don’t have a point.. but a job is a job. at least it’s honest.

    • madanthony says:

      @AngrySicilian:

      Here’s the thing – if banks didn’t have repo men and debt collectors, they would charge way more in fees and interest to make up for the money they aren’t collecting from people who don’t pay their bills.

      Besides, there is a reason that car loans are usually around 6% and credit cards are often 20% – because car loans are secured by collateral – the car. If banks didn’t hire repo men, they wouldn’t be able to take that collateral in cases of nonpayment, and car loans would cost as much as unsecured debt like credit cards.

  5. Grabraham says:

    “Violence between repo men, car owners on the rise”
    Not to nitpic but the article is focused on a man who was KILLED by a repo man

    • Bladefist says:

      @Grabraham: silly nit picker

    • trujunglist says:

      @Grabraham:

      Well, his claim is that the dude shot at him first and he was just defending himself.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @trujunglist: It’s definitely not self defense. The repo men were probably trespassing to get the car. Plus the victim may have had things in the car that he wants, so if it looks like a theft he has the right to defend it as such. It’s not logical to just say the person should have known the car was going to be repo’ed.

        In cases like this you have no idea what would have happened if they just went to the door first and told the person. Some people will just ask to get their stuff out and let them take the car. Repo men for some reason will basically take a car in a way that looks like theft before attempting to see if the person will just surrender the vehicle. Shed no tear for them. Their tactics are not formal, and as such they open themselves up to violence. They really should not be allowed to carry weapons.

  6. trujunglist says:

    What moron goes to rural Alabama in the middle of the night and makes any kind of noise near someones house? My job constantly has me in the same type of situation (although in much friendlier context) and I am constantly freaked out that someone is going to come out and shoot me for just being there doing what I have to do. Fact: people that live in rural areas have guns, talk about them all the time, and would definitely use them if they deemed it necessary or even if they didn’t but just wanted to have a little shootin’ fun.

  7. NTC-Brendan says:

    Paying cash for something one could afford would seem to skip out on this entire mess.

  8. StreamOfConsciousness says:

    I still have never seen that movie.

  9. emis says:

    “It’s gotten to where it’s a crazy world out there,” said Smith, 50, an ex-Marine who preaches part-time and sings gospel music. Smith said Thursday that he fired in self-defense after Tanks fired a shot.
    Tanks was killed just two weeks after he married Georgia Tanks, who keeps a floral spray at the spot where he died beside the car, which is long gone. She wasn’t at home the night he was killed because she was away teaching Vacation Bible School in nearby Meridian, Miss. She has filed a wrongful death suit in the slaying.

    “It’s senseless,” she said, wiping away tears as she looked at their wedding photograph. “The legal stuff I don’t know anything about. I just know God is going to let justice be done.”

    What sucks is if this Tanks guy really just intended to fire into the air to scare off kids or a thief and has now ended up dead.

    But you can’t fault Smith for taking his shot–it’s kill or potentially be killed in those situations and I have no doubt that Tanks probably fired first (or at least made it known he had the weapon).

    That said I guess having “god” in your life doesn’t necessarily make you less likely to kill or be killed.

    /doesn’t go to church
    /doesn’t own a gun

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @emis: Yes you can. The repomen set this up to look like a theft. Had Tank killed one of them, odds are there would not have been any charges.

      The repomen should have taken the car during the day and should have notified the owner about it so he could remove his stuff before hand.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Corporate_guy: I don’t think there was indication that they set it up to look like theft. Tanks perceived it as possible theft. And repomen can’t go out during the day because it’s hard to pinpoint where the car may be. What are they going to do, just wait until you get home from work?

  10. Adrienne Willis says:

    Repo Man spends his life getting into tense situations, Beltzer!!!!

    Sorry i couldnt resist

  11. Con Seannery is apparently an ADMIN... says:

    Wake me up when the GeneCo repo men start coming around.

    • Eric Tipler says:

      @Con Seannery is apparently an ADMIN…:

      Glad i’m not the only one who thought of that movie when I read ‘violence’ and ‘repo’ in the same title

      I’m the monster
      I’m the villain
      What perfection
      What precision
      Keen incisions, I deliver
      Unscathed organs, I deliver
      Repossessions, I deliver
      I’m the Repo, Legal Assassin

  12. QuiteSpunky says:

    Life as a repo man is always intense!

  13. richcreamerybutter says:

    I’m inexplicably craving a plate o’ shrimp.

  14. sirwired says:

    I feel for the repo guy. This was a failure on the part of the car owner. He knew he was behind in payments, and probably knew that a repossession was going to come Real Soon Now. If we make the bold assumption that the repo guy is not talking out of his ass when he says he was shot at (that is certainly easy to prove/disprove), then he was right to defend himself.

    Daytime-only repos aren’t going to work. The reason these are done at night is because if the company doesn’t know where the car is during the day, night is the only time they are going to be able to find the car, especially if the owner is trying to hide it.

    I’m pretty sure the stated alternative of having the police take care of it is not going to work. The Sheriff usually serves notice of court judgement, and maybe notice to appear in court (depending on jurisdiction… notice to appear is commonly simply sent via Certified Mail or private process server.) If the courts aren’t involved (and they aren’t for a car repo), the Sheriff isn’t going to be either.

    This is a risky job, and I don’t see any way around it.

    • Snarkysnake says:

      @sirwired:

      A well reasoned opinion.
      I feel for these guys too.I’m a bail bondsman,and if you think going after a car is a sphincter tightner,you ain’t seen nothin’. I know from personal experience that a lot of these hombres here in the south like to play with knives and guns and the like.The answer is simple: don’t play on their terms. You have to never put yourself in a dangerous position – And ALWAYS know where the exits are located.

      That said, I hope that justice is done here…

  15. corinthos says:

    I wish it was against those sneaky tow truck drivers.
    I don’t care about repomen. I have a friend who’s one and I went with him once. It was the funnest hour I spent stealing something legally. He says he has a lot of boring time just looking for things though.

  16. CharlieInSeattle says:

    Sorry I live in a rural area, if I heard a noise, I’d come out with a gun also.

  17. Silversmok3 says:

    Heck, its not unknown for a payment to not process, or a late customer to be told by a bank everythings A-ok, even though the repo mans already looking for their car.If a guy was towing a car because the lender F-ed up some paperwork I can see why thered be some ‘confusion’.

  18. corinthos says:

    Oh after reading the article I hope the repoman gets time. Most people I know who do it are not allowed by their employers to have lethal protection on their persons when on the job to prevent stuff like this guy did which is the way I think it should be.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @corinthos: That might be something on Alabama’s books. It’s Alabama – florists have guns. Grandmas have guns. A lot of people hunt. A lot of people just like guns.

  19. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Ok let us make it clear that in no way do I condone violence – between anyone. And I’m not going to argue whether it was allowable for the repo men to have guns because I don’t know if that’s something in Alabama law that repo men can carry weapons, or if they were in the wrong.

    What I am going to discuss is who was at fault. Going off the info in the AP story (the only info I have as I haven’t researched this further) I think that it was a sad incident that could’ve been handled better by both parties, especially since firearms are involved. Tanks probably should not have started firing. I give the repo men a benefit of a doubt here because I feel as if perhaps there was nothing (except for their vehicles) they could have taken cover under, and maybe taking cover near the vehicles was not feasible. I also give Tanks the benefit of a doubt and say that perhaps it really looked exactly like a theft, and nothing else, and maybe it didn’t occur to him that the men were taking his car because of repossession.

    I think it’s just unreasonable to say that one person was at fault. I’m not blaming Tanks – I think it’s a tragedy someone died, and I think it was also a misfortune series of events and nothing malicious.

  20. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    If you go around in the middle of the night taking cars out of people’s driveways (legally or not), you have to expect to be shot at. That doesn’t justify engaging said owner in a gunfight to the death unless it is absolutely clear that they guy fully intendeds to chase you down and kill you on the spot.

    We’ll probably never know if that was the case or not, and unfortunately (and sadly), dead-men tell no tales.

  21. synergy says:

    Talk about people being in denial. If you haven’t paid on a loan towards eventually owning something, it’s no longer your’s. Becoming violent against people just coming to get their stuff back just makes the person a bigger deadbeat.

  22. P_Smith says:

    The repossessors ought to start carrying an illuminated or fluorescent sign stating that they are repossessors. They don’t have to knock as 3AM when they find the car to take it, but putting up a visible sign to say who they are and what they are doing might put an end to the “OK Corral” mentalities. Sooner or later an innocent bystander is going to be killed and nobody is going to be held responsible.

    Debtor: “I thought it was a thief! Self defense!”

    Repossessor: “I thought he was trying to murder me! Self defense!”

    Both pointing at one another: “I didn’t mean to shoot that kid, just him!”

    I have to wonder if many repossessors take the same view of using violence towards those they are trying to apprehend as do bounty hunters. Given the latter’s history and their “any means necessary” attitude towards the law, it wouldn’t surprise if some repossessors anticipate and look forward to the violence. Many/most phone debt collectors have shown no decency or respect for the law or the debtors.

    • valarmorghulis says:

      @P_Smith: The problem there is that the debtor’s argument does not qualigy as self-defence pretty much anywhere. The repo’s argument is pretty much the definition of self-defense everywhere. Especially if the debtor came out armed. It’d be pretty tough to prove you felt you were in danger of imminent harm when they are outside hooking your car up to a tow truck, and you are inside with a locked door between you.

  23. kwsventures says:

    Newsflash to all deadbeats: You don’t own the car if you have a loan on it. Did you read your car loan contract? Did someone put a gun to your head and force you take that car loan? Uh, no. You default and you are in danger of losing your transportation. Until Obama changes the rules, the U.S. constitution currently says nothing about free cars. I am not going to soft pedal this stuff. We are a land of laws and contracts. When that stops, we will be a Banana Republic.

  24. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    And how does the wife go about saying she knew nothing about the car being repossessed? She’s his wife. She married him not knowing he was behind on payments and had declared bankruptcy?

  25. Bs Baldwin says:

    Let the repo man rot in jail. you do not repo a car at 3am, you are only going to create trouble that way. also smith doesn’t think it could have went down any other way, except not firing a gun or carrying one.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Look this article is about a co-worker of mine and he not that bad of a person. I am so tired of people thinking that that can NOT pay there car note and still keep the car thats theft! We are just trying to do a job and everybody thinks that we (repo men & women yes women) are scum becuz we are doing are job. Well in my eyes the people who think they can get something for nothing is the scum. Pay you car note and you won’t see the repo man. IT ANIT NO JOKE IF YOU DONT PAY THAT NOTE!