Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle?

"Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle" seems to be a charge that's a general catch-all for various crimes (and misdemeanors?). We once thought it pertained solely to those who borrowed a car and didn't bring it back.

Many years ago, a young woman was moving. She borrowed a truck from a friend, then allowed her boyfriend to keep the truck overnight. It seems this woman had some serious problems for which she refused to get help. When her family heard of the truck situation, they promptly persuaded the neighbor to charge the woman with car theft. The charge stuck, and Lauderdale County managed to get a conviction on the theft charges. Since the woman already had a a felony conviction for drugs, she was sent South.

But how about the other way? Will the district attorney or a victim prefer lesser charges if the thief is known to the victim or even a friend? It seems so.

Steven Lee Scott (pictured left) seems to be a prime example of this phenomenon. While on drugs, he knocked down a friend, rifled through her handbag for her car keys, and managed to get as far away as Moulton with her much-needed vehicle. Yet he was charged with only Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. Apparently law enforcement couldn't make the woman testify against her friend, but a lesser charge enabled her to at least get her vehicle back.

Now the most recent Lauderdale County indictments have been published and we find that Andrew Daniel Scott (pictured right) has yet another charge tacked to several theft and burglary crimes. He's also been charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. Why? We're guessing, like the Village Square victim in Russellville, this was the only way a friend or family member could reclaim his transportation.


A Good Samaritan account has been set up for Timothy Shane Green at Bank Independent. Green remains in critical condition at UAB after saving his two children from a house fire. You may donate at any Bank Independent simply be informing the teller you want to place funds in the Good Sam account for Green.


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