DC woman hit with $1,750 in traffic tickets racked up by brazen car thieve

A Washington, DC resident says that her car thief racked up 10 traffic violations and now, the city wants her to pay them.

In June, Catherine Brenner had just come home from the National Mall and was planning on driving somewhere only to find that her car had been stolen.

“I just walked back behind my building, and I looked and my car wasn’t there,” she said. She filed a police report and immediately signed up for ticket alerts from the DC DMV. Nine days later, the first ticket arrived. Brenner went looking for the stolen vehicle herself, going to the block where her car had received a parking ticket.

“I went to that block myself to look to see if maybe my car was still there,” she said. “Sadly, it wasn’t. But then I found it within 48 hours of that ticket.”

Brenner found her own car while she was walking in the same area just a couple of days later. The car itself was looking worse for wear with $7,000 of accrued damage, and inside were some clothes, cigarette burns, and a bullet casing. Adding insult to injury, the tickets started to pour in.

“Once I got that first ticket, five other tickets came through via email later that day,” she said.

In total, Brenner received 10 tickets in 10 days amounting to a total of $1750; all while the car was being driven by whomever had stolen it. The list of tickets is a compilation of red light violations, speed limit infractions, and the sole parking ticket. What makes matter worse is that it is painfully obvious that Brenner, the owner of the vehicle, is not behind the wheel.

“I am not the driver in any of these photos,” she said reviewing the list.

Brenner found her car without the aid of the police and it looks like she’ll be tackling her $1750 ticket problem alone, as well. “The detective I’ve been working with specifically said I could contest all the tickets, and they would all be removed from my account, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it,” she explained. So, she went online and contested all ten of her fines adding her police report to the file.

“It has since been three months, and only one of them has been taken off my account”, she complained. DC news agency, WUSA 9, stepped in on Brenner’s behalf calling the DC DMV to inquire why these tickets in question had not been rescinded. Within a day of their initial email, four of the tickets had been dropped with no explanation for the delay or oversight from the department.

“I feel like this is just like haunting and hanging about me this entire time,” she said of the remaining five tickets. “And I just really want it to go away.”

The city’s crime statistics do show that in contrast to other major metropolitan areas in America their crime rates are going down after a spike of violent crime the last few years. Despite this, however, auto-theft appears to be an increasing problem rising a total of 8% from 2020 t0 2021 and numbers show a 2% increase so far this year.


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