TN Repo Man Comes Under Fire

WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee


Memphis, TN – July 10, 2015 – An effort to repossess a car turned into a hostile situation for the Repo Man.

Memphis police officers said 39-year-old Michelle Stewart fired shots at Brien Vandergriff as he tried to repossess her 1998 Mercedes Benz.

“I just pulled up to her house like any other house where their car is up for repossession,” recalled repossession agent Brien Vandergriff. “I mean, and I back up to it, I drug it out of the street. She come out, popped a round off at me and pretty much held me at gunpoint.”

Vandergriff said he dropped the vehicle from his truck within seconds and called the police.

“Try asking someone holding a gun up to your head, a stranger you don’t even know holding a gun up to your head and start counting down from nine, to drop their car,” Vandergriff added.

Police arrested Stewart on Thursday and charged her with aggravated assault.  She is in jail on a $25,000 bond. mstwrt

Vandergriff said he was not hurt during the incident.

“If she has the car and she hadn’t paid it, then she knows there are repercussions,” said neighbor Debborah Horton.

Vandergriff just said he hopes others will learn not to attack the Repo Man.

“I hope she learned her lesson,” he said. “I couldn’t let it go because if you let something like that go, then that person is like, ‘I shot at the (expletive) Repo Man and he dropped my car and left.'”


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2 thoughts on “TN Repo Man Comes Under Fire

  1. Sad to say but I am completely shocked that she was arrested and the simple fact that she was only charged with assault is a complete joke to the agent and the industry!!!! Our company is located in Tennessee and we are about an hour and half from Memphis and have had one of our clients practically beg us to work his Memphis cases and there was no hesitation with saying NO WAY YOU COULDNT PAY US ENOUGH!!! I sincerely have respect for the ones who do though.. We had an incident about 6-8 months after opening our business to where the Obion County Sheriff Dept had pulled a unit over pulling large camper and both were impounded for drugs and the debtor not having a valid drivers license. So, we received a call from a lender in Texas and they had worked this case hard and were determined to recover the unit! the note was over 1000 days delinquent. So, we accepted the case, I went and sat at courthouse on date of his court appearance and of course he got a tap of the hand. The Judge released his units back to him upon agreement that he pays all fines that day or they must be paid prior to release. So, he paid the fines…. He was drove to court by a friend of his in Dodge flatbed truck. So, my agents were at the jail which is in another location and they were staking out the area preparing for the release because even though we had valid order, proof of non payment and delinquency and loan agreement with a letter from lien holder requesting we recover unit, the Sheriffs Dept would not allow us to take the unit and said it must be outside of the locked jail gates before we could touch it… So, we all sat and waited. Next thing we know, the debtor is DRIVING his ford truck pulling huge camper and then comes his buddy out driving his dodge truck… Now, recall he was just arrested, charged and held in jail a few days for dope and no valid drivers license and then the deputies hand him the keys to his truck and watch him drive it out of the locked, fenced yard of the jail. Needless to say, One of us went walking up and stood right outside of gate with paperwork in hand while the wrecker held back a little and another vehicle stopped in the driveway into the S.O. to make it difficult but not impossible for him to pull that huge truck and trailer out with such a narrow space of pavement. Well, debtor realizes what is going down and plows threw the S.O. grass yard rutting it up and plowed into our wrecker which was sitting still with my hubby behind the wheel with staples across his stomach due to emergency appendix removal ten to twelve days post op. The debtor hits our wrecker and thank God didn’t kill my husband… And then keeps going!!! One of our team members followed the debtor to trail him while I checked on hubby and got officers outside. Well, they had to investigate it all before they could do anything even though they were all in the loop and knew that we were there to repo unit!!! The agent followed debtor for well over an hour and I finally called that agent ask location and was advised they had crossed the state line into Ky. I advised him to call 911 from cell and advise them he has no license and was driving crazy and has just plowed into our wrecker with driver inside unit in Obion County and fled the scene… So, just moments later, five or six Ky law enforcement units surrounded the debtor forced him to pull over and arrested him for no license and he forced to stay overnight in jail. The Ky officers stated they had to call someone from their call list to tow unit which was completely understandable but they would make sure we knew who towed it so that we could recover the unit from towing lot. So, that is just what happened… And then about three days later, the local “law enf” called to let us know that they would charge him for hit and run but if we wanted to pursue this they would also be charging us for blocking him in…… Please don’t even ask my real feelings on their decision because I would sound just like a sailor, if you know what I mean! We ended up getting the unit though which was the only thing we wanted to do and we learned to never think law enforcement in this county at least is going to protect us out there doing dangerous jobs just like they do!!!! We truly need stiffer laws and punishment across the US to keep all recovery agents safe. This world is getting worse by the moment and went law enforcement thinks “repo agents” are all crooks (like most of them do) then we are completely unprotected whether in the right or the wrong… And honestly, three days to investigate when the debtor left the scene… Are you kidding me? Heck, he could have fled to Japan within that time frame and we would have been left to hold the bag for repairs, etc… Not to mention that they have double standards…..COMPLETE DOUBLE STANDARDS… the day they busted him for dope it was illegal to drive without valid license and he never got his license back because it was a Texas issue which is where he was from and had to be resolved there so how does it make sense to hand him his keys and officers watch him drive out of locked gate…. Why was it not illegal on that date? I got news for them though, they better thank God everyday that my husband was not injured or killed during that ordeal because I would have been ruthless and devastated which would equal explosive and not a good place to be!!!! They are a complete joke here and I still don’t see how we are the bad guys for picking up collateral that debtor agreed to pay for on a timeline and breached the contract and if they are not willing to return collateral as agreed then in my opinion the debtor is committing theft!! We are just assisting the lender to make things right. I guess you can describe this job as being similar to being a prison guard because we have done nothing wrong but the people we are dealing with have yet they have all the security and rights meanwhile we are forced to look over our shoulders and fend for ourselves in this dog eat dog world we are now living in!!!! I am beyond happy the agent was not injured in this case but yes, we must take a stand for harsher punishment and protect ourselves because no one else was going to do that!!!

  2. If we arrested more debtors then this industry would start to be safer for the rest of the agents. We must all follow the lead of Florida’s FDLE …. Florida Department of Law Enforcement in creating certified police officer training courses.

    We must educate law enforcement of how to properly and legally respond to a repossession in progress.

    In Florida the course counts as 2 hours towards the officer’s required 40 hours of continuing education they must take every year to maintain their law enforcement certificate.

    As an industry we have all made a lot of progress in educating the agency owners and field agents. Now we must educate the law enforcement community and the debtors.

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