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Calgary senior facing almost $2,200 in impound fees after truck stolen, destroyed

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A 78-year-old Calgarian is on the hook for thousands of dollars in impound lot fees after his vehicle was stolen, burned and abandoned by thieves.

Svatomir Sitek's Mazda pickup truck was taken from his Haysboro backyard parking pad on the night of Oct. 4.

Police recovered the vehicle the next day in the city's northeast, but it had sustained significant fire damage.

An officer tells CTV News the Calgary Fire Department's arson unit is investigating.

Sitek bought the vehicle new in 1997 and was heartbroken when he heard the news.

"I was just dumbfounded," Sitek said.

"I get really emotional about it. Because I had that truck for 26 years and it was in mint condition, I was taking such good care of it.

"These criminal bastards. ... What can I say?"

A 78-year-old Calgarian is on the hook for thousands of dollars in impound lot fees after his vehicle was stolen, burned and abandoned by thieves.

But the theft was only the beginning of Sitek's problems.

Police towed the truck to the Calgary Impound Lot, where the southwest Calgary resident went to figure out his next steps.

He says he expected to be told his vehicle would be scrapped and he'd receive money for parts.

Instead, he was told he owes the impound a hefty amount of money.

Not only does Sitek have to pay for the tow, he's now also responsible for 42 days of administration fees -- covering things like impound security, staffing and building maintenance -- and storage fees, among other charges.

A 78-year-old Calgarian is on the hook for thousands of dollars in impound lot fees after his vehicle was stolen, burned and abandoned by thieves.

Online, the city says his estimated amount owing as of Friday is $2,180.90.

"Which we cannot afford," Sitek said.

"We don't have that money at all. So I don't know what will happen."

The outstanding payments need to be squared before Sitek can register a new vehicle or renew his licence.

And the amount owed is growing every day.

This week, the truck is scheduled to be scrapped, which will carry a "disposal preparation" fee.

The city's website does warn drivers that if their "vehicle was stolen, you are responsible for the impound fees."

It says to be sure to "check your insurance as you may have coverage for these fees."

But most auto insurers don't automatically include that coverage.

"I've had 26 years of just the basic insurance," Sitek said.

"I never had any accidents or any claims. And suddenly, just because of some criminals who stole it and burned it, I should pay for it? That's so unfair."

Money is already tight in the Sitek household.

Sitek and his wife are behind on other payments, and the 78-year-old was trying to get ahead by doing some small jobs using his truck.

Those are now off the table.

Sitek says he doesn't know what his next steps are.

He misses his truck dearly and knows one thing:

"It's impossible. I simply cannot pay."

THE CITY RESPONDS

Chris Blaschuk with Calgary Parking sat down with CTV News on Friday afternoon.

He says he sympathizes with Sitek's situation and urged him to try to get in touch with lot employees.

Sitek says he's already tried to speak with counter staff multiple times, to no avail.

"It's imperative when people are in this situation that they connect with our impound lot as soon as possible to discuss options," Blaschuk said.

When asked if there could be an exception made for Sitek, he would only say, "Each case is evaluated on an individual basis to determine what options are available."

Blaschuk says when the vehicle is destroyed, the money brought in from sold-off parts is put toward any outstanding impound bill. 

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