Westminster to pay bills after family’s stolen car destroyed in shootout

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- The city of Westminster told a family that it would have to pay hundreds of dollars bills in tow fees that ran up their stolen, shot-up and destroyed car.

The Lillie family called the Problem Solvers because when the car was stolen, it was spotted.

But police asked them to hold off on getting the vehicle because it was under surveillance while investigators tried to catch the suspect. The family agreed.

The suspect ended up getting involved in a shootout with police and the car was destroyed in the process.

The Westminster Police Department kept the vehicle at an impound lot all summer for the officer-involved shooting investigation. They told the family they could pick up the car Tuesday but would have to pay to have the inoperable vehicle towed away.

Lillie said they can't afford that and meanwhile, they were being charged $20 a day while the car sat in the lot.

Police initially said it was an insurance issue, but the Lillies had only basic insurance on the vehicle and that couldn't come close to paying for another car.

On Thursday, the city agreed to take care of the fees and give the family a $2,500 check for the destroyed vehicle -- but only after the Lillies took their story to the media.

"It should not be the victim's responsibility," Tanya Lillie said. "That police needs to change.

Lillie said the family will push for cities to change their policies so victims don't have to bear the costs of a crime.