Owner finds her stolen trailer has been sold at auction


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WICHITA, Kan. -- A Butler County woman is frustrated after efforts to get back her stolen trailer fail.

Back in 2010 Glenda Smith and her husband had a flatbed trailer. And then one day it was gone, stolen from their back yard east of Andover.

Mike and Glenda Smith used the $1,800 trailer to haul hay for their horse. After it was stolen they filed a police report with the Butler County Sheriff noting distinctive markings on the trailer.

Fast forward three years to 2013 when Glenda's son saw the trailer parked at a home in Wichita. It had all the same markings. "We were ecstatic. We thought we was going to get it back because this is what they told us," said Smith. "if we ever found it, call them and we'll get our trailer back."

Butler County deputies did try to impound the trailer but they discovered the owner had legally purchased it at a City of Wichita auction.

In a letter from the Wichita Legal Department the Smiths were informed that yes, the trailer was stolen from them. But since then, the trailer was impounded by a Wichita Police officer during a traffic stop when the person towing the trailer could not prove he was the rightful owner.

Because the trailer did not have a vin or identification number Wichita police couldn't do a national search and only checked Wichita trailer thefts. When an owner couldn't be found the city sold the trailer in a public auction after information was published in the paper. The Smith's claim was denied by the Wichita Legal Department.

"And I understand the city of Wichita at the time didn't realize it was stolen", said Smith. "Now they do and they won't make it right. Basically we get victimized twice. By the thief and by the city of Wichita."

The City of Wichita says it did everything by the book according to the law.

But Glenda Smith wishes she could get her trailer back. She has nothing against the man who bought it at auction since he didn't know the history of the trailer. The Smiths have purchased another trailer. But Glenda says it's not as good as the one that was stolen.


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