Family Reunited With Muscle Car Stolen During Foreclosure Wants Bank Of America To Pay For Damages

Remember Aaron and his missing purple muscle car that disappeared after Bank of America sent in a winterizing crew? He’d been storing the car in his late mother’s garage when the crew contracted by BofA showed up to secure the foreclosed house against the elements, and poof — his car was gone. It’s been returned to him now due to the hard work of investigators, and two men have been arrested, but he says Bank of America still isn’t being very helpful.

When the car went missing, Aaron, who had worked on the car with his son Sims, said BofA stonewalled him when he tried to find out more about where his car had gone. Now, he and his son say BofA should be liable for repairs. The car has a blown transmission and rear tires that have been scorched from burnouts, and two men are being held on warrants for receiving stolen property, reports The Telegram-Gazette in Massachusetts.

“The biggest thing for me is Bank of America hired criminals. Don’t they do background checks? This is supposed to be a professional bank,” said the son, as police told them the men who were arrested have criminal records.

Bank of America says it’s not to blame for anything, however. So place your blame elsewhere, guys!

“The arrests will help us complete our investigation and determine the next steps with the vendor,” a Bank of America spokeswoman said in a statement yesterday. “Bank of America placed an order with our contractor to secure the buildings, nothing more. We did not order the removal of the car or any other personal property.”

Right — they are responsible for hiring a crew that allegedly stole a car, which is against the law.

In the meantime, the two men will have to work together again to restore the 1973 Dodge Challenger to its former glory after suffering months of damage while it was away.

“It’s going to take a lot of work,” he added, “but we’ll do it together.”

*Thanks as always to our ever-observant and wonderful Consumerist tipsters for keeping an eye on story updates! We couldn’t do this without your help.

Missing muscle car back home [The Telegram-Gazette]

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  1. MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

    “[T]hey are responsible for hiring a crew that allegedly stole a car, which is against the law.”

    Let’s be more forthright: they are responsible for hiring goons, thugs, and career criminals to handle what is a very touchy task that can abrade already raw emotions.

    • Coffee says:

      Thank you for putting a more human touch on things, Max…you don’t have the right to hire felonious subcontractors, then close your eyes and pretend it’s not your fault when something goes wrong. You are responsible for your subcontractors, just as a business is responsible for the behavior of its individual employees.

      • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

        But subcontracting insulates them from lawsuits & responsibility. When some felon steals a car they put on “earmuffs” and go lalala “we didn’t hire him that guy we hired did.” Unfortunately this is the callous world we live in.

        • skydvr7 says:

          But also the have a responsibility to ensure that who they sub-contract to is licensed bonded and insured. If they just hire someone from day labor then they did not do their due-diligence. If the company they hired is licensed and bonded then that is who a claim should be filed with.

        • oldwiz65 says:

          This is exactly why the bank hires contractors – they know full well the contractors tend to subcontract to criminals and don’t give a rats tushie.

  2. Guppy06 says:

    Here’s my effort at being constructive:

    Family, Reunited With Muscle Car Stolen During Foreclosure, Wants Bank Of America To Pay For Damages

    • dks64 says:

      From my understanding, the people who stole it had criminal records, something BoA should have checked for first before hiring. While the criminals are obviously most to blame, BoA shares some of the blame for hiring people with criminal records. I don’t know if they should pay for the repairs though, shouldn’t that bill fall on the actual people who stole the car?

      • George4478 says:

        BOA didn’t hire anyone here with a criminal record; BOA hired a contractor to secure the building. The contractor went out and hired guys with criminal records so the insurance/legal issues would start with that company, I would think.

        • dks64 says:

          If that’s true, I absolutely agree. :)

        • Abradax says:

          We deal with contractors all the time. The contracting company is supposed to be doing the background checks, not the company paying the contracting company.

          Any criminal activity should have been discovered by the contracting company.

          For once, BOA is actually right. They aren’t responsible. Their vendor is.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    what’s wrong with hiring people with a criminal record?

    • Marlin says:

      Thats like hiring a pedophile to work at your daycare and when he/she does something playing the “we did not hire them to molest kids…” and trying too say you are not liable.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        For all we know, their criminal record might be public urination.

        it’s illegal to discriminate from hiring someone with a criminal record if the job has nothing to do with the crime.

        it wouldn’t be wrong to hire the pedophile to winterized the garage.

        • Velvet Jones says:

          Eh, not it is not. “Criminal past” is not a protected class. In fact, depending on what someone was convicted of it might actually be against the law to hire them. See the recent story of the Wells Fargo employee who was fired for having a theft conviction.

          • Difdi says:

            That’s a case of someone being fired from a job where you are trusted not to steal, because they had an undisclosed prior conviction for theft. But that same person would have a valid complaint if they were fired from a ditch digging job because they were once convicted of theft.

            You don’t hire thieves to be bank tellers, you don’t hire pedophiles to run a daycare. But there isn’t necessarily any reason not to hire a former thief to take care of kids, and there isn’t necessarily any reason to worry about a former pedophile handling money.

  4. yankinwaoz says:

    I think this guy is misdirecting his anger about the foreclosure. BofA didn’t steal his car. Car thieves did. Heck, he doesn’t even know if the actual employees did the theft. They might have just told someone dodgy about an awesome car sitting in the garage of a foreclosed house.

    This theft could just as easily happened with zero bank involvement. A nosy neighbor, a meter reader, a door to door solicitor, could just have easily done it, or told someone who did it.

    This is why you need insurance on things that are that valuable to you. If this car was this important, then he should have keep it in HIS garage where he could watch over it in person.

    • Marlin says:

      RTFA

      The people BoA hired are the ones that stole the car.

      “A neighbor told Mr. Dahrooge that the same crew that had winterized the home and padlocked the garage door in March returned the next day, used a key to open the garage lock and towed away the distinctive purple car, which has dual four-barrel carburetors and a chrome air scoop sticking up through the hood.”

      They got the keys from BoA as well.

      • SirWired says:

        BofA hired a contractor, which in turn hired / provided the keys to, these goons. That’s likely enough “distance” to put BofA legally in the clear.

        • dolemite says:

          At the very least, the contractor is responsible. Either the contractor is, or BofA is. When your employees commit crimes in the clock, you are responsible for their actions. If a delivery guy runs a red light and injures someone while making deliveries, you can sue the company he works for. I see no difference here, it’s just determining who is responsible.

          • SirWired says:

            Agency law is actually a little fuzzy on this. A driver running a red light on a delivery run is acting within the scope of his employment, albeit poorly; making the company clearly responsible.

            Thieves that come back to a house off the clock to steal a car are not acting within the scope of their employment. As long as they aren’t using a tow truck owned by their employer, the employer could escape liability. Businesses are not required to run background checks on employees, absent some sort of special regulations (like day care centers.) Failure to run a background check would not be inherently negligent.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      I doubt he’s angry about the foreclosure — it’s not really his house. The home belongs to his deceased mother’s estate ; they had been storing the car there for winters since she was alive.
      He was still “controlling the home” as the estate executor during the foreclosure proceedings and had the right to store the car there. RTFA, he *does* know it was employees who did it because that’s who had the car (and who was arrested for it.) Of course, like you say, it *could have* just as easily happened with zero bank involvement. And I could have been crushed by a falling piano on my way into the office building this morning. But I wasn’t.

  5. SirWired says:

    Legally, I think BofA is in the clear. They aren’t required to perform background checks on the employees of contractors. Now, if they had previous complaints that said contractor employed a bunch of thieving thugs, that would indeed be negligence. But hiring an apparently-reputable contractor to begin with, whose employees then go do bad things? That’ll never stick.

    • MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

      Well, even if that’s true, the next time this happens the plaintiff’s lawyer (if s/he’s smart) will ask BoA “Did you demand that your contractors perform background checks and tell them they were forbidden from allowing people with (felony, larceny, whatever) records from having access to the property or the keys to the property?” They should have some kind of standards to which they try to hold their contractors, if for no other reason than to protect their own asses.

    • and_another_thing says:

      The buck has to stop somewhere. Even if BoA is _legally_ in the clear, the public should hold them responsible for this.

  6. dicobalt says:

    Banks rarely do anything right (or legal) with their foreclosed properties. I see it all around my neighborhood.

  7. dush says:

    Shouldn’t it be the actual employer of the two alleged criminals rather than BofA who just contracted with a service?

    • lyontaymer30 says:

      He’s going after BOA because they have more money. Don’t let logic get in the way of the money grab.

  8. scoosdad says:

    You need to go look at the source link if only to see the photo accompanying the article. Looks like it was posed for a reality TV show ad:

    “Father and son team up for some vigilante-style justice. All new this week on “Muscle Car Wars: Massachusetts”.

  9. PragmaticGuy says:

    This guy’s claim is with the insurance company of the firm that the bank hired, not with BoA as they had no prior knowledge of what happened and did not direct the car to be removed. I can’t believe this guy didn’t know the house was being foreclosed on as this process takes a year and that he left the keys in the car.

  10. oldwiz65 says:

    I’m only surprised they didn’t find the car in the garage of a BofA executive.

  11. kobresia says:

    So let me get this straight…the bank is responsible for personal property left behind in a vacated home that they’re foreclosing on?

    Why, I think I have a solution to this very problem!

    Don’t leave personal property behind in a home you’ve all-but abandoned in such a manner that you left it up to the bank to hire some contractors to secure their asset.

    Under just about every other circumstance, nobody makes promises when it comes to the security of your stuff because it’s on you to secure your stuff, not them, unless you’re paying them to accept that liability. Did B of A explicitly accept liability for any personal property left behind in a vacant house that’s being foreclosed-upon? I’d bet they actually explicitly disclaimed liability, so even negligence would be a tough sell. When you vacate a house, things you leave are left at your own risk.

    If anything, the contractor is probably bonded and insured for employees committing wrongdoing and causing damage, they’re the appropriate company to go after, not the bank.

    • pythonspam says:

      RTOA (Read the original article)
      “His mother’s house had an ongoing foreclosure proceeding at the time of her death, a proceeding which isn’t complete yet.” Foreclosures take a long time and have to be followed by an eviction (typically when the sherriff’s deputies show up and the contents are removed to the front lawn.)

      New Hampshire foreclosures may proceed by either:

      Judicial Foreclosure
      In New Hampshire, the judicial process of foreclosure is very similar to that of the strict foreclosure process used in other New England states. The judicial foreclosure process is one in which the lender must file a complaint against the borrower and obtain a decree of sale from a court having jurisdiction in the county where the property is located before foreclosure proceedings can begin. Generally, if the court finds the borrower in default, they will give them a set period of time to pay the delinquent amount, plus costs. If the borrower does not pay within the set period of time, the court will then order the property to be sold. Anyone may bid at the foreclosure sale, including the lender.

      The borrower has one year (12 months) after the foreclosure sale to redeem the property if the judicial foreclosure process is used.

      OR

      Non-Judicial Foreclosure
      The non-judicial process of foreclosure is used when a power of sale clause exists in a mortgage or deed of trust. A “power of sale” clause is the clause in a deed of trust or mortgage, in which the borrower pre-authorizes the sale of property to pay off the balance on a loan in the event of the their default. In deeds of trust or mortgages where a power of sale exists, the power given to the lender to sell the property may be executed by the lender or their representative, typically referred to as the trustee. Regulations for this type of foreclosure process are outlined below.

      Power of Sale Guidelines
      If the deed of trust or mortgage contains a power of sale clause and specifies the time, place and terms of sale, then the specified procedure must be followed. Otherwise, the non-judicial power of sale foreclosure is carried out in the following phases:
      1. A notice of sale must be recorded in the county where the property is located
      2. Mailed to the borrower at least 25 days before the sale
      3. Published once a week for 3 weeks, with the first publication appearing not less than 20 days before the sale, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property is located.

      The guy, as executor of his mother’s will would have known if there was an eviction/cleanout. On the other hand, the guys BOA hired were just there to winterize the property — turn off the water, empty the hot water heater and pipes, etc.

      • scoosdad says:

        Maybe you should follow your own advice and RTOA once again. The house being foreclosed on wasn’t in New Hampshire. It was in Worcester, Massachusetts. The car was recovered in New Hampshire.

        But your point being that the guy had time and the law on his side to keep the car stored in his dead mother’s garage for the time being while the foreclosure process chugged along is probably still valid for the house being in Massachusetts and not NH. As you stated “in New Hampshire, the judicial process of foreclosure is very similar to that of the strict foreclosure process used in other New England states.” so I would expect it to be similar in nearby Massachusetts.

      • lyontaymer30 says:

        Regardless, it was stupid to leave important shit in a home going through foreclosure no matter what state you’re in. His only saving grace was the criminals were dumber than he was.

  12. Bryan Price says:

    I owned a red one, black vinyl roof.

    Totalled, wasn’t even my fault, or I’d probably still have it.

    I certainly feel his loss.

  13. 401k says:

    If you RT original FA you would recall that BofA was not helping this gentleman with the investigation, and that is why they should be accountable. By withholding information I would hope they could be brought up on charges as an accessory after the fact.