When you can’t pay cash for a car or ATV, you borrow the money and promise to pay it back. When you can’t pay the lender, they’ll eventually send someone like Otto from the ‘Helping Hand Acceptance Agency’ to take it back. When this happens, the law is pretty squarely on Otto’s side. Don’t f*ck with Otto. Don’t be like Jason W. Greber . . .
According to police, 57 year-old Greber had fallen way behind on the payments for his ATV. When the repo guys showed up to take it back, he ran them off his property.
So far, so good. Repo men are legally privileged to enter onto private property to reclaim personal property in which their employer has a perfected security interest, which is Lawyer-ese for ‘if they filed their lien, they can come take it.’
But there’s a catch: repo men are only allowed to repossess personal property where it can be done without any ‘breach of the peace.’ Broken windows, smashed doors, physical violence or threats all constitute a ‘breach of the peace’ which can turn a simple repo job into a legal nightmare for their employer and the bank that hired them. In extreme cases, it can even turn a legal repo job into a conviction for aggravated robbery.
But that’s not at all what happened here. The repo guys apparently followed the rules, and Greber allegedly lost his cool. He may have thought he was defending his property, but 1) he wasn’t in any danger, and 2) it wasn’t really his property any more.
According to KPLR-11 (St. Louis):
[The repo men] arrived at the residence late in the morning to repossess an ATV. The repo men made contact with the suspect, identified as 57-year-old Joseph W Greber and explained the situation. Greber refused to unlock the ATV and ordered the men off the property.
The victims left but later returned around 1:00 PM. As the victims drove by Greber’s residence, he walked out and yelled at the victims saying they could not drive by his property. Greber then went into his trailer and returned with a 12-guage shotgun and quickly fired two rounds in their direction. The victims quickly drove their vehicle to a safe location and contacted police.
Greber had a Ruger .22 pistol in his hand when the police arrived, and he was at least smart enough to drop it when ordered to. They arrested him and quickly found two spent 12-ga. shotgun hulls nearby.
He was charged with two counts of felony 2nd Degree Assault and one lesser count of Unlawful Use Of A Weapon, and his $50,000 bail is probably ten times the amount he owed on the mortgaged ATV. Sucks for him, eh?
I guess Harry Dean Stanton had it right: a repo man is always intense.