Stolen Tires Still Sitting in Evidence

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The victim of a burglary that happened a year and a half ago is still frustrated, but not because of the burglary itself. Even though the suspects in the crime were caught, the victim says police still have his stolen property.

Trever Smith points out the dent in the warehouse where he restores cars. He says it's from a crowbar burglars used to pry open the door and steal more than $10,000 worth of tools and four tires from a 1956 Ford panel truck.

"The police were here and I came down and it was just a mess, (the burglars) tore through everything," explains Smith.

Smith says he's now dealing with a mess of a different kind, the court system. Officers found the stolen tires without the rims, and they're still sitting in an evidence room a year and a half later.

"By the time I get (the tires) back they're going to be no good. I feel the state's attorney or whoever is responsible for this doesn't have the victims in mind," says Smith.

The Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office says it does sympathize with the victims but they say they need to keep the evidence for trial and getting there can be a process.

"That's actually something I think the state should address more. Take a month if you have to but take pictures and store them in some kind of digital device and let people have their property back," says Smith.

The state's attorney's office says prosecutors and attorneys can't simply take pictures because they could take a picture of something else and say its the real evidence when it's not.

We also spoke with Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers who says his office would work with the state's attorneys office to reimburse Smith for the tires, if they're bad once he finally gets them back.


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