Suspect Tony Moy of Houston, Texas, parked his car near the vehicle that the police believed was used in attempted theft at the CIBC Banking Center ATM on December 25. In his defense, Moy said he just happened to stop in the area to check his GPS.
Moy was eventually arrested for possession of marijuana, which is illegal in the state of Illinois. He is now out of jail after posting $3,000 bail on New Year’s Eve, but his car remains in police custody.
While Moy’s Dodge Avenger, a mid-size sports car, was not directly involved in the alleged theft, police argue that it was where they found the burglary tools allegedly used in the crime. Civil asset forfeiture laws allow authorities to seize assets suspected to be used in a crime that is under investigation.
Based on the asset forfeiture complaint filed by Channahon police, they investigated an attempted theft of the ATM machine in West Eames St. along Route 6 and followed the tire markings of a 1996 Ford F240. They eventually found the car parked in the middle of a dirt road trail with no driver in it. After some time, police said Moy pulled over near the access road where the Ford F240 was found. Moy then proceeded to drive south where police later stopped him. Police said Moy’s car smelled of marijuana and that he was unable to present a valid driver’s license. He was arrested and imprisoned on Christmas day while his car was impounded.
Arguing that Moy’s car may have been used to aid in the attempted theft, police said it provided transportation for the burglars and contained burglary tools such as pry bars, a garbage bag where they found a backpack, cell phones, and a pair of gloves.
Under the comprehensive forfeiture laws in the state of Illinois, civil asset properties and funds that are suspected to have aided in a crime or are important in the investigation of a crime may be seized by police authorities. However, civil rights advocates have called out the rampant abuse of civil forfeiture laws and are calling for an immediate review of the law. They point to a number of abuses by police individuals who have used forfeited assets to generate revenue and use the money for themselves.
The government claims that forfeited funds and properties have been very useful in helping protect and serve the Americans as it supports law enforcement to ensure security and safety.
The Attorney’s Office in Will County State filed the civil asset complaint against Moy. The court has set the hearing on March 10th but it is not clear if Moy, who lives in Houston, will be contesting said complaint or if he will be present in court. Often, owners of cars seized by police choose to stay silent and defer to the complaint, thus giving authorities a free hand to sell the car to generate revenue.
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