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Tamuning family upset after their car was towed

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Thousands of cars are towed every year on Guam. And while sometimes the violations are clear as day, one family in Tamuning was at a loss as to why their car was towed from the street in front of their home.

When Joe Guerrero arrived at his son's home in Tamuning last Monday, he thought his car had been stolen. "I called GPD and I reported it on the phone and they said, call the junkyards or the tow trucks, check the scrapyard if they have it, and none of them seems to have it," he recalled.

After three days of searching, Guerrero went to the Tamuning Mayor's Office to see if they might know anything about the missing vehicle. "Just to find out that it was the vice mayor that gave the green light to trash the vehicle and they didn't even bother to give me notice, to notify me or even go into where my step son or step daughter stays," he added.

The 1996 Toyota Tercel had been parked in front of a four-unit home where Guerrero's son and daughter-in-law live. He says the home only has one parking space, so all remaining tenants park on the street. He said he'd been working to fix the vehicle for roughly a year, adding, "I said, 'OK, we'll gather the money to buy the parts slowly but surely', and I already dismounted the head and the radiator and other parts, just to find out that once I put it all back together it's gonna be running, no, it's already gone. They wanted to remove my vehicle because it's expired, that beige Toyota Camry is expired, the vehicle further down, that blue car is expired, and it's broken down. Those cars are actually worse because they're not making an effort to run it."

Guerrero had planned to give the car to his son-in-law, Russ Mafnas, who told KUAM News, "I'm disabled and I'm not so well-to-do financially, and I don't know what to do anymore about a vehicle, because moneywise, my stepdad was working on it and it was almost fixed, but it became missing."

Tamuning mayor Louise Rivera said she gave all residents notice that her office would be removing junk and abandoned vehicles, and that Guerrero may not have received notice because he does not live at the residence. "That one on particular was sitting on blocks, and there were a lot of children around it that are in the area and so when they are hanging out around the car or sitting there, it is a danger," said the mayor.

"I would constantly get calls from the neighbors, saying, 'Ai Adai, if that car falls on the kid, what's gonna happen?'"

She said the vehicle was on the public easement, had been expired for over two years, with grass growing underneath it, and was a safety hazard. But for Guerrero, he said it was a gem he was working to restore.

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