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Fightertown's abandoned vehicles have bulls-eyes

By Cpl. Micah Snead | | May 6, 2005

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Abandoned vehicles have a bulls-eye on their hoods and owners are now being given notice to deal with the problem.

Cars, trucks, boats and trailers growing moss around their wheels will soon be towed, if owners do not find a solution, according to the Provost Marshal’s Office.

Parking lots are not a storage area for vehicles. The military policemen have to tow the orphans, if their owners do not handle the situation, according to Gunnery Sgt. Randy L Walz, traffic accident investigation chief, PMO, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

“Personnel leave their vehicles or boats for various reasons,” Walz said. “For example, permanent change of station, temporary additional duty, deployments, or they just do not want them anymore and do not know where to put them. Currently we have quite a few vehicles on the Air Station and on Parris Island that fit into this category.”

Vehicles can be abandoned for a significant amount of time before PMO steps in, but there are typical hot spots for the discarded automobiles, according to Walz.

“Generally speaking, there is not a specific time table, but if PMO sees the vehicle registration or base decal expired and cob webs attached from the ground to the vehicle or boat, there is a pretty good indication that it may have been abandoned,” Walz said. “The biggest problems seem to be around the barracks and work section parking lots.”

Parking lots are not car graveyards for junk vehicles. Personnel with military orders are afforded proper storage through the Traffic Management Office, according to Walz.

“The owners are supposed to take the vehicle with them if they leave, or in case of a deployment, they need to contact TMO and put the vehicle in the deployment lot,” Walz said.

Instead of immediately towing the vehicles, military policemen give the owner several opportunities to make a plan for removing their property, according to Walz.

“PMO will put an abandoned vehicle notice on the vehicle or boat,” Walz said. “The owner will then have to contact PMO and let me know what they plan to do with it. If they do not contact me, I will attempt to contact the legal owner by phone, in person and/or by certified mail.

“If the individual is deployed, I will attempt to contact a unit representative and have them move the vehicle to the TMO deployment lot. The last resort is for me to contact a local towing company and they will be happy to tow the vehicle off of the Air Station or Parris Island. The owner will then have to pay all towing fees to include the daily storage fees. This can get very expensive very fast.”

From that point, possession of the vehicle is left for the owner and towing company to decide. The Provost Marshal’s Office is now taking steps to rid the Air Station and Recruit Depot of all abandoned vehicles, according to Walz.

“We have already started identifying vehicles with abandoned vehicle notices, so if someone has one or is watching a vehicle they need to get it moved,” Walz said. “Or, I will end up moving it for them.”

Following the regulations on vehicle storage can help personnel avoid a headache and a hit to the wallet, according to Walz.

“A little prior planning on the owner’s part can alleviate a whole lot of time, effort and money on everyone’s part,” Walz said.

For more information, call PMO at 228-7007.
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