Abandoned RV's Causing Headaches for Sheriff's Office

Abandoned RV's Causing Headaches for Sheriff's Office

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The recent downturn in the oil industry is creating an unusual problem. People are leaving town and abandoning their RV's and mobile homes. That's putting a strain on local law enforcement and towing companies.

"They'll rent out their space and then disappear leaving their RV behind," said Gabriel Caudillo with Unlimited Wrecker Service in Odessa.

"These vehicles are left in there and they have no way to get rid of them," said Sheriff Gary Painter of the Midland County Sheriff's Office.

That's because the RV's and mobile homes have a title for ownership or a lien holder preventing them from selling or even buying them.

"By law, the only thing they can do it move it off their property," said Painter.

The problem is there's nowhere to put the abandoned RV's and mobile homes.

"We've notified the court, the Commissioners Court, that we may need a place to store these vehicles as they become available and put them in a storage spot that's owned by the county," said Painter.

Even with that solution, there's another big problem the abandoned RV's bring.

"We have to wait four months before it's declared abandoned property under law," said Painter. 

"It's an issue. There's a lot more out there," said Caudillo. 

The sheriff says it's a waiting game and, for the RV parks, that means money.

"I know they're going to be losing income because they have a spot that they could be renting out to somebody else and it's tied up with an abandoned RV," said Caudillo. 

"A legal nightmare when you run into it. It just takes time," said Painter.