Dallas DA's office briefly lost Porsche it owns

DALLAS, TX -- The use of forfeiture funds to recover and repair a temporarily lost Porsche owned by the Dallas County District Attorney's Office is raising questions about how this money is used by law enforcement.

WFAA-TV in Dallas reported the district attorney's office lost track of the Porsche for two months after it was towed when administrators from a parking garage thought it was abandoned.

"People had written on the car in the dust things like, 'If you're not going to drive it, I will,'" said Robert Jenkins, an attorney representing United Tows.

The car sat for two months at the towing company's lot while they tried to find an owner. Letters sent to the owner's address were returned as undeliverable. The car was eventually auctioned. When the new owner tried to get a title, it was discovered the DA's office actually owned the vehicle.

The DA's office paid $3,600 in fees and other expenses to get the car back and fix it.

District Attorney Craig Watkins said his office needs high-end vehicles for undercover work. "We do undercover work. We use cars like Mercedes, like Porsches to investigate certain things." He added that his office knew where the car was all along. He declined to say who the DA was investigating but said it was someone other than United Tows.

Jenkins said the DA's office talked about bringing charges or an indictment against the towing company. "They were saying they believed we had some sort of intent to steal vehicles which of course we do not," Jenkins said. "We are happy to go in front of a grand jury. We had all the documents."

It is not the first time the use of forfeiture funds has come into question. During the summer, News 8 reported that Watkins office paid more than $50,000 to settle an accident that happened in 2013, when Watkins rear-ended another car.
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