ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC)– An Ashland-based vehicle repossession company is reacting with humor after one of its drivers was falsely accused of stealing a car in Richmond.
On Thursday, Richmond police told the city to look out for a tow truck pirate after a man reported his SUV stolen. Ring doorbell video captured by a neighbor shows the vehicle getting swiped up and pulled away in less than 10 seconds.
It turns out the car was towed legally.
Nicholas Ficarra, owner of vehicle repossession company Select Recovery Agents (SRA), set the record straight in an interview with 8News Friday.
“We were being called unlawful, unlicensed pirates stealing vehicles across Richmond,” he said.
Before he explained what happened, he sprinkled in a little humor. Ficarra and some coworkers recorded and posted a video on social media of his business partner standing on top of the back of a tow truck dressed as a pirate and shouting “Argh for repossession! Argh!”
“We thought hey, let’s make some light out of it,” Ficarra said.
He told 8News that the repossession on Sunday was simply “textbook.”
“A bank hired us to pick it up, we picked it up and brought it back here,” Ficarra said. “We did 1000 percent what were supposed to.”
RPD later corrected themselves and said it was indeed a legal tow. Ficarra said procedurally, when SRA repossess cars in the city, they notify the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications (DEC), which they did in this case. He said the DEC then tells police so issues like this are avoided.
On Thursday, Richmond police said they never got the message.
“While RPD officers were following the proper procedure for taking a report of a stolen vehicle, information provided by the tow company, which alerts public safety agencies to a legal tow, was not immediately forwarded to RPD. Therefore, RPD officers and detectives were not made aware the vehicle had been lawfully towed while investigating the missing vehicle,” a spokesperson wrote.
A spokesperson for the DEC did not reply to 8News inquiry on Friday.
“We contacted police and said what’s going on, we didn’t steal a car,” Ficarra said.
He’s hoping the city can learn from this and prevent it from happening again.
“They can just do their job a little bit better,” Ficarra said. “Get all the facts before you start making things difficult for everybody out in the field.”
Thursday, before they realized what had happened, police told Richmond to be on the lookout and call them if they see unmarked tow trucks on the road. Ficarra said repossession trucks don’t legally need markings and that people thinking his drivers are criminals puts them in danger.
Editor’s Note (11/01/2021): The company involved is a vehicle repossession company not a tow truck company as previously reported.