Port Charlotte food bank hit with large fee to get stolen trailer back

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- “We have to pay for someone to steal our trailer.”

Reverend Alexander Scotland runs Discipleship Driven Ministries, a church and food bank in Port Charlotte. Scotland has been doing charitable work for eight years, but he says he finally found a challenge he couldn’t overcome.

“We are the victims there, and we are being made to pay for being a victim,” said Scotland.

He says back in December, someone stole one of the organization’s delivery trucks.

“We packed our trailer out front of the store, over the weekend. We came in on Monday and the trailer was gone.”

He says Punta Gorda Police found the trailer one day later, only Scotland says he was told it wasn’t ready for pick-up.

“Said it’s being processed so nothing can be done, at the moment, because there is a hold on the trailer.”

Charlotte County deputies took over the case. The trailer was held at the tow company for 18 days. Charlotte County deputies told Scotland it was released on Friday, and he was told to go to Prompt Towing in Punta Gorda to pick it up.

Scotland couldn’t believe what happened next.

“We were slapped with a bill! $669.00. You are talking about almost 4,000 pounds of food.”

So, he came to WINK News. We went to Prompt Towing, and asked why the bill was so high.

President Joseph Saladino says they charge $25 a day to store vehicles for law enforcement.

“If they have a hold on it, they tell you it can’t be released until they tell you it can,” said Saladino.

Scotland’s total was more than $400 for that 18 day hold.

When WINK News brought the story to Prompt Towing, they agreed to drop that charge.

Saladino said, “I will take off the storage off, like it never happened. I’m happy to do it.”

That leaves the church with $180 in towing fees.

After finding out the good news, Scotland says he’s extremely grateful to Mr. Saladino, and that he would find some way to come up with the money.

WINK News also reached out to the Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda police to find out why a victim would have to pay after their car is stolen. Their Public Information Officers were not available for comment on Monday’s holiday.’

If you’d like to contact the Food Pantry, their number is 941-467-2042.

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