Mr. T.’s car found in Chula Vista — with some of his possessions still in it
On March 21, at the small claims court at 330 W. Broadway, there were about 22 cases on the roster, but Mr. T., a homeless, thin 80-year-old, was number six on the list. He appeared to be the only transient there. He came with two supporters or witnesses and took the seat on the plaintiff's side when his name was called. Commissioner Peter Doft presided as judge that day.
Mr. T. — told to “get on with his life”
On November 21, 2015, Mr. T. was involved in an accident in Mission Valley that left his green 1996 Honda crashed and undrivable. Mr. T. was not able to view the damage because he was transported to the emergency room via ambulance for his injuries. These injuries turned out to be facial cuts, rib contusions, and banged-up legs; Mr. T. ended up in a rehab center for another month before he was able to walk steadily. Mr. T. had been living in that car and kept all of his possessions in it. The other car that was involved in the accident, a Jeep, was occupied by a young couple who said they witnessed Mr. T.'s car being towed away from the accident by Advantage Towing as their Jeep was towed by the same company.
The SDPD did not make a police report on the accident because they said they did not think anyone was injured. When the police called Advantage Towing to inquire about Mr. T.'s car, Advantage Towing said they did not have it. The police called them because witnesses claim they saw Advantage Towing take the car. Mr. T., his friends, and the police called Advantage Towing for six months. The car search was turned over to the SDPD stolen car unit halfway through the ordeal.
Finally, after Mr. T. called Detective Andrew Spears around June 2, 2016, Detective Spears reported that Mr. T.'s car was sold to a parts store in Chula Vista. His belongings were gone, and "go on with your life" was Detective Spears' advice.
Mr. T. asked two of his friends to help him file a small claims case against the San Diego police and Advantage Towing.
On March 21, the City of San Diego representative (a middle-age woman) and manager of Advantage Towing (a tall, young man) were there. Neither of these brought any witnesses. Mr. T. spoke first in a loud voice saying that "he was homeless and they took his car and the police told him to get on with his life." The judge asked him his age. Mr. T. had the police report that said Advantage Towing said they did not have the car when the police called them. Mr. T. called them, and the police called them month after month. The judge said that something was not right when no detailed accident report was written. When the judge asked Advantage Towing to give him his belongings, there was silence. The judge awarded $2500 to Mr. T. plus court costs.