Behind the scenes with heroes and car thieves

Expanded from the 1-27-2002 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Did you know that auto theft is legal under Nevada law? I didn't, either, until I read an item in a Gomorrah South newspaper last week. The story itself made me mad enough to spit. My anger escalated to blood vessel-popping purple-faced levels over the past week when the story was apparently ignored statewide.

Last Monday, Michael Squires, the Las Vegas Review-Journal's intrepid road warrior, disclosed how a senior citizen from Nye County had her automobile legally stolen after leaving it at one of these consignment used car lots.

HUCKLEBERRY SKINNED. "Jeannine Huckleberry, (a) 65-year-old Amargosa Valley resident, hoped to sell her $22,000 Cadillac on consignment but ended up giving it away thanks to a little-known state law," Squires reported.

"Huckleberry signed an agreement with Valley Motorsports, a small used-car lot in Pahrump, to sell the vehicle on consignment. She would continue to insure the vehicle while it was on the lot. The dealer would handle the marketing, notify Huckleberry of any offers and keep 10 percent of the sale if a buyer emerged.

"'If they didn't sell it, I'd just take it back,' she said."


The now-defunct dealer included her car as inventory under which he'd obtained financing. Ms. Huckleberry's car was repossessed when the dealer defaulted.

"Because Huckleberry failed to file a statement with the secretary of state's office 'marking' the vehicle as hers, the financing company legally is entitled under Nevada's commercial code to keep her Cadillac," Squires reported.

She hired a lawyer who found that the law is against her. She has given up hope of ever seeing her car again but hopes that her case serves as a warning to others.


Read Squires' story. Memorize it. Copy it. Tell your friendly lawmaker or legislative candidate during this year's campaign cycle. There are enough car thieves and horse thieves around. Nevada needs to eliminate the law making auto theft legal.

BEHIND THE SCENES. Sometimes, what happens during the breaks of a TV show is better than what gets on the air. Somesuch happened during the taping of the inaugural installment of my new show last week.

Both Judge Mills Lane and I had very sketchy information of breaking news about Mike Tyson's latest demonstration of social grace at a press conference with heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. Former referee Lane became an international celebrity when he disqualified Tyson for pulling a Dr. Hannibal Lecter on Evander Holyfield in a championship bout a few years back.

Off the air, Lane said if an unconfirmed report proved true regarding Tyson biting Lewis during the press conference melee, Mr. Tyson should be permanently banned from the sport.

On the air, Lane also made some highly interesting remarks. He did not flinch at criticizing former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for creating a climate in which the city's police department trampled on civil rights. Lane also delivered a pretty good illustration of how to avoid turning criminal profiling into racial profiling.

Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie Feemster related some touching tales about the many occasions over his lifetime where he's been forced to second-guess his demeanor, appearance and attire because of prejudices regarding physical appearance.

The premiere edition of Deciding Factors has completed its run on KRXI TV-11, but you can still catch it on the northern Nevada UPN network affiliate, KAME TV-21 (Charter Cable Channel 7).

Feemster, Lane and I analyze the impact of international terrorism on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, due process of law -- and your daily life.

The program airs today on KAME at 12 noon and repeats in the wee hours of tomorrow at 1:30 a.m.

Watch and this column for additional broadcast dates on the Sparks, Reno and Carson City community access cable systems.

Next month, we will delve into the largest utility rate increase in Nevada history -- Sierra Pacific/Nevada Power's request to hike prices almost $1 billion. Nevada consumer advocate Timothy Hay has committed to appear and I have a request in to the CEO of SPP/NP.

Please send me questions you'd like addressed. And spread the word.

LITTLE SQUIRT. No matter how exalted you think you've become, the Great Spirit has ways to send you subtle messages that you ain't so great.

Last Tuesday morning, I was feeling pretty good. My production meeting for the TV show was brief and efficient, so I was running way ahead of schedule. Since I had several hours before the afternoon taping, I headed for the post office.

As I walked between two cars, I was rained on from a dry sky. I looked up, I looked around. Nothing.

Then I spied a chubby little boy, about seven years old, skulking in the back seat of an automobile. He had a very self-satisfied Bart Simpson grin on his face. He had figured out that the windshield washer would squirt even with the engine off. He also apparently had enough practice to learn when to hit the button so that some poor lout walking by would get hit right in the face.

I resisted the urge to mete out fair and just corporal punishment. After all, what could I tell a cop?

"I was going peacefully on my way to do a TV show with Mills Lane and this kid attacked me with Windex, officer. I acted in self defense. No jury will convict me. I want to call my lawyer."

If the washer fluid had left stains, I at least would have waited to talk to his parents.

He'll probably grow up to be...nah, he'll never make it that far...but, then again, my mother used to say the same thing about me.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


© 2002 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 33-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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