Police seizure of vehicle without identification number; inspection; disposition of vehicle; disposition of moneys from sale.
When a police officer discovers a vehicle or component, including a transmission, engine or other severable portion of a vehicle which possesses or did possess an identification number, from which the vehicle identification number assigned to the vehicle or component has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed the police officer may seize and hold it for identification and disposal as provided under the following:
(1) The police agency having custody of the property shall have a specially qualified inspector or police officer inspect the property for the purpose of locating the identification number.
(2) If the identification number is found it shall be checked with the list of stolen vehicles maintained by the National Crime Information Center.
(3) If the identification number is not found the police agency shall apply to the Department of Transportation for renumbering under ORS 819.400.
(4) When the property is not listed as stolen and the identification number is established, the property shall be returned to the person from whom it was seized if:
(a) The person can establish that the person is the owner of the property;
(b) The person executes a good and valid surety bond in an amount at least equal to the market value of the property and conditioned upon return of the property to the owner, if one can be established; or
(c) The person has a certificate as a vehicle dealer issued under ORS 822.020 or a dismantler certificate issued under ORS 822.110.
(5) If the person to whom the property was returned does not establish the person’s ownership of the property, the police agency shall make reasonable efforts to determine the names and addresses of the owner and all persons of record having an interest in the property. If the police agency is able to determine the names and addresses of the owner and such other interested persons it shall immediately notify the owner by registered or certified mail of the disposition of the property.
(6) If the identification number of property seized is not established or if the property is reported as stolen the police agency having custody of the property shall do all of the following:
(a) After making reasonable efforts to ascertain the names and addresses of the owner and all persons of record having an interest in the property, notify the person from whom the property was seized, and the owner and such other persons if they can be ascertained, of their right to respond within 60 days from the issuance of the notice through court action for the return of the seized property.
(b) Advertise, as required by this subsection, the taking of the property, the description thereof and a statement of the rights of an owner or other persons of record having an interest in the property to respond through court action for the return of the seized property.
(c) Place the advertisement in a daily newspaper published in the city or county where the property was taken, or if a daily newspaper is not published in such city or county, in a newspaper having weekly circulation in the city or county, once a week for two consecutive weeks and by handbills posted in three public places near the place of seizure.
(7) If court action is not initiated within 60 days from the issuance of notice the property shall be sold at public auction by the sheriff or other local police agency having custody of the property.
(8) Property seized and held by or at the direction of the Department of State Police shall be delivered to the sheriff of the county in which the vehicle was located at the time it was taken into custody for sale under this subsection.
(9) The sheriff or other local police agency, after deducting the expense of keeping the property and the cost of sale, shall do the following:
(a) Pay all the security interests, according to their priorities which are established by intervention or otherwise at such hearing or in other proceeding brought for that purpose.
(b) Pay the balance of the proceeds into the general fund of the unit of government employing the officers of the selling police agency. [1983 c.338 §413; 1993 c.751 §77; 1995 c.79 §380; 2005 c.654 §31]