June 25, 2010 in City

He didn’t know he towed stolen car, driver says

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane tow truck driver is disputing police reports that he knowingly towed a stolen vintage car two weeks ago.

Richard D. Ziesmer, owner of Pacific Towing and Recovery, said he had “absolutely no idea” the woman who asked him to tow the 1954 Ford didn’t have permission to take the car.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said Thursday.

The Ford was stolen on June 7 during a burglary police say was committed by Susan Burke, 48, and Shane P. Venziano, 34. Both pleaded not guilty to burglary charges this week.

Ziesmer, 48, was arrested June 10 on car theft and burglary charges after police found the stolen car in his tow yard, at 4028 E. Central Ave., and said Ziesmer acknowledged knowing the car was likely stolen. But Ziesmer claimed Thursday he never said that.

“That is absolutely wrong,” he said. “I had no reason to be suspicious of anything.”

Ziesmer spent three days in jail before posting bond. He was to be arraigned Tuesday, but no formal charges have been filed yet.

Ziesmer, who says he’s never met Burke or Venziano, said he towed the car after Burke’s daughter, Dare Douglas, signed a statement saying she had permission to move it.

He cooperated with police when they served search warrants at his home and tow shop June 10.

After the tow, Ziesmer said he heard Burke had a criminal record and grew suspicious the car might be stolen. He said he left a message with the Washington State Patrol the day his home was searched. Ziesmer often helps police recover stolen cars and keeps an eye out for them when he’s towing, he said.

He and his girlfriend, Rosa McGuire, fear their business will suffer because of Ziesmer’s arrest.

“This just makes us look so bad,” McGuire said.


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