The repo man is back: Jose Rodriguez was behind the wheel of his tow truck Friday, a little over two weeks after police seized it when he tried to repossess a detective's car.
"It was a good feeling to get my truck back," Rodriguez told NY1.
Police arrested Rodriguez on May 30 as he was about to tow the detective's car, which was wanted by the bank for three missed payments. A surveillance camera in his rig captured a photo of one of the arresting officers.
The repo man sat in jail for 20 hours, accused of possessing stolen property — a felony — before the charge was dropped and replaced by misdemeanors: falsifying business records and possessing police scanners. Those are accusations he denies.
Rodriguez was released, but the orange boot that police placed on his tow was not. The truck sat day after day on Richmond Terrace, and the repo man said he could not get an answer when he could get it back.
(Jose Rodriguez stands with his tow truck, which was equipped with this orange boot for about two weeks. Amanda Farinacci/NY1.)
Rodriguez calls the entire incident an abuse of power. "Basically, everything happened to me because they were trying to protect their own," he said.
The district attorney's office tells NY1 it is "normal procedure" for police officers to hold a vehicle as evidence in a criminal case, but it could not be determined how common it is to hold it for two weeks when the charges are misdemeanors.
Sources say officers in the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau have interviewed the repo man and are examining footage from surveillance cameras in the street.
Rodriguez has promised to clear up all of the violations on his truck: a missing front license plate, tinted windows and a lack of signage.
Ironically, Rodriguez's company, Finest Towing and Auto Body, is a huge supporter of the NYPD. Rodriguez's partner's truck is decorated in NYPD blue, and the company has donated more than $20,000 to the Blue Lives Matter movement since September.
Now that he's got his truck back, Rodriguez says he'll be out repossessing cars this weekend.