Detroit law enforcers are raising millions of dollars by seizing private property suspected in crimes, but often without charges being filed — and sometimes even when authorities admit no offense was committed, reports the Detroit News. The money raised by confiscating goods in Metro Detroit soared more than 50 percent to at least $20.62 million from 2003 to 2007, according to a News analysis of records from 58 law enforcement agencies. Amounts raised went from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands — and, in one case, into the millions.
“It’s like legalized stealing,” said Jacque Sutton, a 21-year-old college student from Mount Clemens whose 1989 Mustang was seized by Detroit police raiding a party. Charges against him and more than 100 others were dropped, but he still paid more than $1,000 to get the car back.