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Stolen truck leaves man homeless
Fees, ownership pose problems for man who lives in vehicle
Kindra Kalynn Lanier

    A man whose truck was stolen the day before Thanksgiving said the woman who did so took more than his ride – she took his home.
    Charles Thompson said he has been homeless for a while, and was out scouting for scrap metal when police said Kindra Kalynn Lanier, 29, Cliponreka Road, took off in his F-150.
    “I was knocking on a door to ask about some metal, heard my truck and looked up. She took off,” he said. “All I could do is call 911.”
    He said he had known her about a year, and was trying to help her because she was “down on her luck like I am.”
    Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Blankenbaker Road, off Pulaski Road, and met with Thompson. Soon a Georgia State Patrol trooper spotted his truck on U.S. 301 South, and gave chase, said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson.
    After the pursuit, deputies and troopers stopped Lanier, arresting her on several offenses. Sheriff’s deputies charged her with theft by taking motor vehicle, while state troopers charged her with fleeing/attempt to elude, DUI drugs, reckless driving, speeding, failure to obey traffic devices, improper lane change, improper U-turn, suspended license, following too closely, hit and run and obstruction, Anderson said.
    Lanier is being held without bond at the Bulloch County Jail.
    But even though his truck was recovered, Thompson is without his vehicle, which he said also serves as his current home.
    The truck was towed, and his insurance doesn’t pay for towing. He receives a small government check, but by the time his money arrives mid-month, the daily storage fees will have accumulated to an amount that exceeds his monthly stipend, he said.
    A representative of American Towing in Statesboro said the towing fee was reduced. Another issue, however, regarding the truck is that it is registered in another person’s name. American Towing will not release a vehicle unless it has proof of ownership or permission from the owner to release it to someone else.
    Thompson said he has a copy of the title proving he legally owns the 13-year-old Ford.
     Tuesday, the fee was $375, including towing. The amount increases daily by $25, he said.
     “I already have almost half,” he said, referring to donations people have made to help him get his truck back.
    He lives off doing side jobs and collecting metal to supplement his check, but without a truck, he has no way to earn a living, he said.
    After Thanksgiving, local citizens helped him with a few nights’ stay in motels, and one family purchased a meal. But after that, “I’ve been staying in the streets,” he said.
    Thompson doesn’t believe it is fair that he committed no crime, was the victim of theft and yet has to pay to get his own truck back. Law enforcement suggested he sue Lanier, but “she’s in jail,” he said.
    Anderson said when a vehicle  reported stolen is recovered, and must be towed, often insurance pays for the towing.
    “Either they have to pay it or we have to pay, and we can’t pay the tow bills,” he said.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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