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Westminster woman asks city council to change policies to help car theft victims

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A FOX31 Problem Solvers report might lead to policy changes in Westminster.

Tanya Lillie had her Honda Civic stolen in April. A relative found it a few days later, but the family agreed not to retrieve the car so police could run surveillance and arrest the thieves.

However, the car ended up riddled with nearly 50 bullets after police got into a shootout with the car thief.

"It would cost me as much as a new, used car to repair it. The seats, the dash, the electrical system, it was all shot," Tanya Lillie said.

The family was then told they had to pay almost $2,000 in towing and impound fees to get the vehicle back.

"Denver, Lakewood and several other cities don't require it, so why here?" Lillie asked. "What's different here than there?"

Lillie ended up getting her car replaced after 303 Towing saw the report and volunteered to give her another vehicle.

But Lillie wants to make sure what happened to her doesn't happen again to someone else.

Lillie attended Westminster's city council meeting Monday night to urge council members to make policy changes so victims won't have to pay impound and towing fees for stolen vehicles.

"Sometimes how we find out policies can be improved is when news media brings it to us, which is a heck of a way to find out," Westminster City Councilman Bruce Baker said.

Baker said the council will study possible changes so car theft victims aren't victimized even more.

"We really weren't paying attention and we really weren't giving a lot of empathy to the victims of these crimes," Baker said.

Lillie said she's overjoyed to learn that and vows to also fight for change in other nearby cities with similar policies.