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‘Write it off’: Why Ontario woman wishes police never found her stolen car

Click to play video: 'Ontario woman still paying insurance on her stolen car'
Ontario woman still paying insurance on her stolen car
WATCH: An Ontario woman was initially delighted when police said her stolen Jeep had been found in a shipping container, preparing to leave the country. Weeks later, however, she still doesn't have the car back and is paying insurance costs. Sean O'Shea explains – Feb 29, 2024

When Joyce Madero-Buquid got up in the morning on Jan. 12 and looked out on her driveway, something was missing: her silver zynith 2023 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4xe.

Like many other victims of auto theft in a similar situation, her heart sank.

“It was devastating,” said Madero-Buquid, who lives in Durham Region.

Security video at her home confirmed what happened. Thieves had smashed a rear window, gained entry, manipulated the ignition system and driven away.

Initially, she thought that was the end of the sorry story. But police discovered her stolen car and an officer with Peel Regional Police called her with the good news at the end of January.

Now, more than 48 days after the theft, Madero-Burquid wishes it had never been found.

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“The car was found in one of the shipping yards inside a container ready to be exported,” she says she was told.

A month later, as February draws to a close, she still doesn’t have the Jeep back.

“After a month in the impound, it’s still there,” Madero-Burquid told Global News.

The vehicle sits in the police lot operated by Lyons Towing in Mississauga.

Madero-Burquid says her insurance provider, CAA South Central Ontario, didn’t live up to her expectations to get the car back in a timely way.

CAA defends its actions.

“We can categorically confirm that we have been doing everything we can to get this car released and to advocate on her behalf with the towing and storage company in question,” a spokesperson said in an email.

“But the facility has been unresponsive.”

Global News went to Lyons Towing in person in search of answers.

“It hasn’t been held hostage,” said Sylvan Naidoo, the acting chief financial officer of Lyons.

When asked why the Jeep hasn’t been released yet, Naidoo expressed regret.

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“There is no reason it couldn’t be released…. I apologize…. It fell through the cracks,” Naidoo said.

Initially, Naidoo maintained the car was gone, but after checking, acknowledged it was still in the company’s care.

He offered to compensate Madero-Burquid and the insurance company.

“Listen, if it was here an undue time and I have to cut a cheque, I will,” Naidoo said.

According to Madero-Burquid, CAA has paid out about $5,000 to Lyons for towing and storage. Another towing company working for the insurance company is scheduled to retrieve the vehicle Friday and have it taken to a Durham collision repair facility so repairs can be made.

Despite having no use of her vehicle since mid-January, Madero-Burquid has still been required to make car payments. Since mid-February, she has no longer had access to a paid rental car because her insurance benefits ran out.

To top it off, she says CAA has notified her that her premiums will be going up by about $1,300 a year, in part because of the theft.

Madero-Burquid now wishes the police hadn’t found her car and had paid her out instead.

“Just write it off and give me my money back.”

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