1. The person last in care, control and custody of the car must send a demand letter to the person who has the car now. The person last in custody of the car may not be the vehicle's registered owner, but they are who must send the letter, and who must later provide a sworn statement to police and sign an affidavit swearing to the facts they report.
2. The person last in care, control, and custody completes and signs this demand letter. Before this letter is mailed, we recommend that someone make a copy of it for documentation. If there is no access to a copier, someone can take a clear photo of it with a cell phone camera or other type camera.
3. Your demand letter must include five key pieces of information, to be valid. They are:
a) Address the letter to the person who has the car now. Include their first and last name, and last known address.
b) Demand that the vehicle be returned to a specific address. Provide the full address, city, and zip code of the location in Texas where the vehicle is to be returned.
c) Demand that the vehicle be returned within ten days of their receiving this letter.
d) Identify your vehicle completely within the letter. This includes year, color, make, model, license plate number and State of issue, and the 17 digit vehicle identification number, which is also called a VIN number. You can find the VIN number on insurance paperwork or bill of sale.
e) The letter is to be signed by the issuer and their name should be printed below that signature.
4. Mail the demand letter to the last known address of the person who has the car now by certified, return receipt, mail. The Post Office, or a Mail Store, offer this service. The demand letter must be mailed in this manner because documentation generated by this method is part of evidence required. If you mail it another way, you will have to repeat the process by this method before the matter can proceed. Take note of the tracking number assigned to the letter and keep this with your other documentation.
5. The last known address of the person who has the car now may be the current address of the person last in care, control, and custody, or of the registered owner. The address may be one you know the person recently moved from, or it may even be to a hotel. We understand that there may be unusual circumstances, or that it may not make sense, but, regardless of the circumstances, send the demand letter to the last known address.
6. One of two outcomes will occur: a) The certified mail letter will be returned to you undeliverable, or
b) The letter will be accepted by that person, and in doing so, they will have to sign a receipt for it.
If you receive the returned letter, do not open it - save it unopened. If the person signs the receipt, that receipt will be sent back to you instead. Police and prosecutors will need to receive the unopened returned letter or the receipt, which ever is returned to you, in order to proceed.
7. AFTER you receive the returned certified mail letter or the receipt, you must wait ten days from that date before proceeding further. This standard of expectation is considered a reasonable period of time allowable for the person to return the car to the location demanded in the letter- even if the letter was returned to you as undeliverable. To be clear, the ten- day waiting period begins on the postmark date on the returned unopened letter, or that was entered on receipt returned to you. This process takes 15 days, all together.
8. After the process has been properly followed, contact the Auto Theft Unit to schedule an appointment. Due to the volume of incoming cases, current staffing, and the need to reserve an interview room, we cannot meet with you without you first making an appointment.
9. The person with last care, control, and custody must be the one to set the appointment and who meets with the detective. They should provide the case number, if they received one in advance, when they request an appointment.
10. Things that should be kept by you in preparation for the appointment are;
a) The tracking number and the unopened returned certified letter or returned receipt
b) A copy or photo of the demand letter, if one was made; and
c) Any additional documents or information that may be evidence of criminal intent to deprive you or another person of the car.