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Harlingen Woman Upset About Loaned Vehicle Not Returned

Harlingen Woman Upset About Loaned Vehicle Not Returned
7 years 1 month 3 days ago Friday, April 21 2017 Apr 21, 2017 April 21, 2017 6:25 PM April 21, 2017 in News

HARLINGEN – A Rio Grande Valley mother said she’s having a hard time taking care of her children without her car. She said she loaned it to a friend who she claims never returned it.

Elizabeth Moreno Vasquez of Harlingen is a mother of four. She said she’s tried contacting the man, but he hasn’t returned her calls.

She said the man and her became friends about a month ago. She said the man offered to fix her mother’s car.

Moreno said Saturday night he asked to borrow her car, a 2014 black GMC Envoy.

“My friend was fixing my mom’s car, and he borrowed it to get some supplies from his sister,” she said.

Moreno Vasquez said she gave her friend the keys because she trusted him. She said he told her he would be back in a few hours.

Moreno said before the man left, she and her mother paid him $500. The money was to pay him to complete the repairs on her mother’s car.

She said $300 was for the materials and $200 was for him.

“He said that his mom was real sick and he needed the $200 so we gave him the money to send to his mom,” Moreno said.

She said the man never returned and she’s tried multiple ways to contact him to no avail.

“Through Facebook and messenger, but he hasn’t replied,” the mother said. “I called his number but it was disconnected. I called his sisters and his mom but supposedly they don’t know where to find him or to reach him.”

Moreno said with the loss of her car and the money her family is having a very difficult time. She said filed a police report with Harlingen police. She found out the car isn’t considered stolen, rather an unauthorized use of a vehicle.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to Palm Valley Police Chief Alvaro Garcia to understand the difference.

“A stolen vehicle will fall under theft, 3103 Texas Penal Code. And basically what it is is intent to deprive the owner of the property. Somebody takes it and steals it without effective consent of the owner. There is a charge called unauthorized use of a motor vehicle or we kind of shorten it and call it UUMV. With a UUMV charge all you have to prove is that the vehicle is being used without consent of the owner,” Garcia said.

The police chief said to avoid becoming a victim of an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is to be extra careful.

“People just need to be very, very sure about who they are lending their vehicles to. That way if they are absconded and it’s been a week or two, and that victim hasn’t heard from him, then that victim is able to go track him down or give vital information to the authorities to be able to track them down,” he said.

The use of GPS systems, such as OnStar, could be helpful if someone is going to lend their car to someone else, according to the police chief. He added making a photo copy of the person’s ID could be helpful in ensuring the vehicle’s return.

Garcia also said that a UUMV is a state jail felony punishable of up to two years in a state jail and up to a $10,000 fine. 

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