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JBLM fights back on abandoned vehicles

So far this year, more than 500 vehicles have been abandoned across Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Just one of hundreds of abandoned vehicles found on Joint Base Lewis-McChord every year. Photo credit: Courtesy photo

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - So far this year, more than 500 vehicles have been abandoned across Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). Not only cars, but trucks, boats, bicycles and RVs have all been ditched forcing JBLM to pay thousands of dollars to deal with those junked vehicles.

To help combat this issue, the JBLM Provost Marshal has started the Abandoned Vehicle Initiative, which provides a specialized QR code to help them identify and locate abandoned vehicles.

"Since service members are no longer required to register their vehicles on the base, we are finding that more and more vehicles are being abandoned," said Master Sgt. Ryan Baird, with the JBLM Provost Marshal office. "Unfortunately, it is more convenient for them to abandon a vehicle than to pay high shipping costs or go through the hassle of trying to sell it."

In addition to the QR code, people can call the Abandoned Vehicle office at 253-966-6970. If you suspect an abandoned car in the base housing area, call Lincoln Military Housing at 253-912-3485.

By scanning the QR code, people can fill out an online form with information including the location, condition and description of the vehicle as well as any visible tags or stickers. That information goes into a database and the Provost Marshal team will go out to determine if the vehicle is, in fact, abandoned.

To do that, the team works with unit leaders ensuring they know who is deployed or on temporary duty assignment to correctly tag the vehicles. If a vehicle is found to be abandoned, it will be towed off base to a lot for potential resale.

JBLM Morale, Welfare and Recreation is in the planning stages to obtain their own towing trucks and car lots with plans to resell the vehicles. It not only helps with the abandoned vehicle problem on base but provides MWR with more money to reinvest into their programs for JBLM service members and families.

"JBLM MWR is in the beginning planning phases for this program, but excited to partner with (the Provost Marshal) to help the JBLM community," said Josh Soldan, Business and Recreation Division chief, for JBLM MWR. "We believe this will be a great program to, not only move abandoned vehicles off JBLM, but to also auction them off to community members that may be in need of a low-cost vehicle option."

The Provost Marshal regularly meets with unit leaders to discuss ways they can help serve the units and its service members. As a collective, unit leaders are concerned about the large number of abandoned vehicles being found in unit parking lots, around the training areas, the commissaries and base exchanges.

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