Chapter 10.50


10.50.010    Definitions.

10.50.020    Adoption of State Law.

10.50.030    Responsibility of Owner.

10.50.040    Procedures for Responding Officer and County.

10.50.050    Notice and Public Sale.

10.50.060    Violation of this Chapter - Private Property.

10.50.070    Inapplicability of Chapter.

10.50.080    Powers of the Commissioners.

10.50.090    Temporary Permit for Repairs.

10.50.100    Abandoned Status Not Affected by Reclamation.

10.50.110    Fees.

10.50.010 Definitions

A.    “Abandoned Vehicle” means the following:

1.    A vehicle located on public property illegally.

2.    A vehicle left on public property without being moved for three (3) days.

3.    A vehicle located on public property in such a manner as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the movement of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on a public right-of-way or is otherwise illegally located on public property.

4.    A vehicle that has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of that property for more than forty-eight (48) hours.

5.    A vehicle from which the engine, transmission, or differential has been removed or that is otherwise partially dismantled or inoperable and left on public or private property.

6.    A vehicle that has been removed by a towing service or public agency upon request of an officer enforcing a statute or an ordinance other than this Chapter if the impounded vehicle is not claimed or redeemed by the owner or the owner’s agent within twenty (20) days after the vehicle’s removal.

7.    A vehicle that is mechanically inoperable, and is left on private property continuously in a location visible from public property for more than twenty (20) days.

B.    “County” means Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

C.    “Officer” means the following:

1.    The duly elected Sheriff of Vanderburgh County or a Deputy Sheriff of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office; or

2.    Any duly appointed designee of the Board of Commissioners of Vanderburgh County, Indiana (“Commissioners”).

D.    “Public Property” means the following:

1.    Property owned, leased, or otherwise under the control of a governmental entity including, but not limited to, public rights of way.

(10.50.010., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.020 Adoption of State Law

It is the purpose of this Chapter to provide for the removal and disposal of Abandoned Vehicles in accordance with and in addition to I.C. 9-22-1 and as those provisions may be amended by the legislature from time to time. Vanderburgh County hereby exercises its authority under Home Rule to supplement or clarify I.C. 9-22-1 to effectuate the purposes of this Chapter.

(10.50.020., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.030 Responsibility of Owner

The owner of an Abandoned Vehicle or parts is responsible for the abandonment and is liable, to the extent of the market value of the vehicle, for all costs incidental to the removal, storage, and disposal of the vehicle or parts.

(10.50.030., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.040 Procedures for Responding Officer and County

A.    Before placing a notice tag (hereinafter defined) on the vehicle or parts, the Officer shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain the person who owns the vehicle or parts or who may be in control of the vehicle or parts.

B.    An Officer who finds or is notified of a vehicle or parts thereof believed to be abandoned shall attach in a prominent place a notice tag containing the following information:

1.    The date, time, Officer’s name, public agency, and address and telephone number to contact for information.

2.    That the vehicle or parts are considered abandoned.

3.    That the vehicle or parts will be removed after seventy-two (72) hours.

4.    That the person who owns the vehicle will be held responsible for all costs incidental to the removal, storage, and disposal of the vehicle.

5.    That the person who owns the vehicle may avoid costs by removing the vehicle within seventy-two (72) hours.

C.    Within seventy-two (72) hours after removal of an Abandoned Vehicle, the County shall prepare and forward to the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles (“Bureau”) an Abandoned Vehicle report containing a description of the vehicle, including the following information:

1.    The make;

2.    The model;

3.    The vehicle identification number;

4.    The number of the license plate.

D.    The County shall request that the Bureau advise the County of the name and most recent address of the person who owns or holds a lien on the vehicle.

E.    The Bureau shall be responsible for conducting a reasonable search upon receipt of the Abandoned Vehicle report to determine the owner or lien holder and provide notice to such party or parties pursuant to I.C. 9-22-1-20.

(10.50.040., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.050 Notice and Public Sale

A.    If the properly identified owner or lien holder appears at the site of storage before disposal of the vehicle or parts and pays all proper costs incurred against it at that time, then the vehicle shall be released. The release must contain the owner’s or lien holder’s signature, name, address, vehicle or parts description, costs, and date of release.

B.    If the vehicle or parts are in such condition that vehicle identification number or other means of identification are not available to determine the owner or lien holder, the vehicle may be disposed without notice.

E.    If the owner or lien holder does not appear within 15 days after the mailing of notice as provided by I.C. 9-22-1-20, an Officer shall cause the vehicle or parts to be sold to the highest bidder at a public sale conducted after notice under IC 5-3-1, except only one newspaper insertion one week before the public sale is required. However, if the Commissioners determine that it is in the County’s best interest, the Commissioners may elect to sell the vehicle or parts as unclaimed property in accordance with IC 36-1-11, except that the 15-day period for the property to remain unclaimed is sufficient.

(10.50.050., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.060 Violation of this Chapter - Private Property

A.    It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, park, or store any Abandoned Vehicle, or parts thereof, as defined by this Chapter, outside of a garage or other enclosure so as to be exposed to public view, except as provided in sections 50.070 and 50.090.

1.    The storage of any motor vehicle that does not have attached to it a current and valid license plate shall be held prima facie to be an Abandoned Vehicle and in violation of the provisions of this Chapter.

2.    A person violating any provision of this Chapter shall be fined by the County an amount of up to $2,500 for a first violation, and up to $7,500 for a second or subsequent violation. Each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be fined as such. Such fine shall be enforceable as a civil action in Vanderburgh County.

(10.50.060., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.070 Inapplicability of Chapter

A.    This subchapter does not apply to the following:

1.    A vehicle in operable condition specifically adapted or constructed for operation on privately owned raceways.

2.    A vehicle stored as the property of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is on active duty assignment.

3.    A vehicle located on a vehicle sale lot or at a commercial vehicle servicing facility.

4.    A vehicle located upon property licensed or zoned as an automobile scrap yard.

5.    A vehicle registered and licensed under IC 9-13-2-3 as an antique vehicle and maintained for exhibition and educational purposes by the owner.

(10.50.070., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.080 Powers of the Commissioners

The Commissioners are hereby authorized to enter into towing contracts, employ personnel, and acquire equipment, property, and facilities, subject to appropriation, for the purpose of removal, storage, and disposition of Abandoned Vehicles and parts.

(10.50.080., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.090 Temporary Permit for Repairs

Any person not exempted by the provisions of Section 50.070 and otherwise in violation of this Chapter may obtain a temporary permit for the purpose of repairing or providing parts, from the Commissioners, valid for a period of time not to exceed forty-five (45) days, upon payment of a fee of fifty dollars ($50.00). The permit shall be non-renewable.

(10.50.090., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.100 Abandoned Status Not Affected by Reclamation

A vehicle shall continue to be abandoned until the owner or lien holder has it moved from the storage lot. The payment of storage and towing fees shall not affect the status of the vehicle as an Abandoned Vehicle. A vehicle may be disposed of without retagging or providing additional notice to the owner or lien holder if the owner or lien holder does not remove such vehicle from the storage lot; however, such vehicle shall not be disposed of within seventy-two (72) hours of the payment of towing and storage fees, weekends and holidays observed by the County shall be excluded from the calculation of the seventy-two (72) hour holding period.

(10.50.100., Added, 07/18/2006)

10.50.110 Fees

A.    The following fees and charges are hereby imposed upon the owner of an Abandoned Vehicle or parts, or upon a lien holder seeking to obtain possession of the vehicle or parts, when any vehicle or parts is towed, removed, stored, or impounded pursuant to this subchapter, and said fee shall be paid before the owner or lien holder is entitled to reclaim the vehicle.

1.    A processing charge of $25.00.

2.    A towing charge not to exceed $100.00.

3.    A storage charge of $10.00 per day or any part thereof.

4.    A purchaser at auction shall be furnished a bill of sale for each Abandoned Vehicle sold by the County. The fee for the bill of sale is:


Sale Price


Less than $99.99


$100.00 to $499.99


$500.00 to $999.99


$1,000.00 & Up

(10.50.110, Amended, 08/01/2006, Storage fee changed from $5.00 to $10.00; 10.50.110, Added, 07/18/2006)