Burnt-out and abandoned cars missing tires and license plates lined the streets around Jim Barrett’s business in North Palm Springs.
“Nothing’s been done. Someone eventually is going to get hurt or they’re going to put more cars out there,” said Barrett. He believes he’s done his due diligence, calling the sheriff’s department, code enforcement, and even local government representatives, and while he was told by multiple agencies the vehicles would be towed, they weren’t. One of the cars was tagged by California Highway Patrol, but the tag appears to have been scratched off.
A retired Indio Police Officer, Barrett has towed many cars in his career. He says what should have taken 30 minutes to address has taken over 4 months.
“If this car was in Indian Wells or Palm Desert or Palm Springs, those cars would be gone in a day. They wouldn’t put up with this. Just because we’re in this smaller area community, I think we’re getting pushed off.”
Barrett thinks he knows who is responsible for the vehicles. He says it’s a man running an underground chop shop around the corner from his business living in this trailer, also missing license plates.
Barrett says the cars are attracting a bad crowd and said there was even an attempted break-in of his business.
After putting in multiple calls to Riverside Code Enforcement to see what the holdup was, we were not provided with much information other than the case was being looked at by an officer. Shortly thereafter, three of the cars were towed, and we’re told the others were being looked at by Code Enforcement.
“Code Enforcement was real responsive after I told them Channel 2 News was going to do what they have to do, and then he became kind of friendly and said if I can help you at any point, please just give me a call,” said Barrett following the tow.
While Code Enforcement declined an on-camera interview, they did agree to answer written questions. When I asked why this case has taken this long to address, they responded saying they’ve followed due process, and some cases take longer than others. Code Enforcement also said there was no evidence of a chop shop at the site and the whereabouts of the tenant of the property are unknown, but they will now conduct a new investigation given the information we provided about the trailer and the person possibly living in it.
No word on plans for the other cars not towed, but Code Enforcement says the case has been resolved.