07/12/09 — Robbery victims must pay fee

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Robbery victims must pay fee

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on July 12, 2009 12:25 AM

When two handicapped men were robbed at gunpoint earlier this month, they had their wrists duct taped and their vehicle stolen, police and witnesses say.

Then, when their Ford Bronco was picked up by Goldsboro police shortly after the incident, they had to pay an impound fee to get the vehicle back.

A nephew of one of the victims thinks that is a problem with city policy.

"I know this stuff happens -- I'm irritated that this happened to him. To do this to two people who are mentally handicapped, it's frustrating," Scott Johnson said.

Scott Johnson works for his father's business, Jesse's Upholstery on William Street, where his uncle also works.

Douglas Johnson, 68, and his adopted son Dougie Goff, 24, were the two victims.

The two men were allegedly robbed in their home by two black males carrying a shotgun on July 3, and lost their vehicle, about $40 in cash and other items.

Their vehicle, a Ford Bronco, was found on Slocumb Street not long after the robbery, Scott Johnson said.

Police officials said the department followed policy with the Bronco -- they must impound a vehicle if they cannot reach the owner when they recover it.

"If we can't get up with the owner, we can't leave a stolen vehicle sitting on the side of the road," Maj. Mike Hopper said. "The police department will send out a letter that same day letting people know where their vehicle's at."

Police also make phone calls to the owner so they may pick it up wherever it has been impounded, Hopper said.

But the victim's nephew said he is still frustrated by the outcome, whether it is policy or not.

Scott Johnson said that the reason police could not reach Douglas Johnson is because he went to the hospital to have his heart checked.

The nephew said that two cell phones were also stolen during the robbery, making it more difficult to reach the victims.

Scott Johnson said the two men did receive a discount on the impound fee, because they knew people at the wrecking company.

The vehicle was impounded at Reborn Auto Center on North William Street, who did give the victims a $100 discount on the fee, the victims' nephew said.

Police are still searching for two unknown black male suspects who entered the victims' Paul Street home on July 3 just before midnight.

Johnson said he just wanted the policy to be known to the public.

"If this is how our city is making money, it's a problem," he said.