No. 402 Pittsburgh, 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, No. CC7905826A.
John Halley, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Joel Marc Kaufman, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Cavanaugh, Rowley and Cirillo, JJ.
[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 335]
Appellant, John Yorkgitis, appeals from the denial of his "Petition for Rule to Show Cause Why a Motor Vehicle Should Not Be Returned to Owner" brought pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 7105(b). We affirm in part and reverse in part.
The procedural background of this case is as follows. On October 3, 1979, John Yorkgitis was arrested and charged with violating 75 Pa.C.S. § 7103(a) and (b), i.e., dealing in vehicles with removed or falsified numbers. The vehicle seized by the Commonwealth from appellant's possession was a reconstructed Ford truck consisting of a 1974 Ford truck body and a later-model Ford truck chassis. Although the truck body contained a proper vehicle identification number, the number on the chassis had been welded and ground smooth so as to be totally obliterated. The case proceeded to trial, and at trial appellant's demurrer to the evidence was sustained. Thereafter, counsel for appellant filed a "Petition for Return of Motor Vehicle" pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 7105(b). A rule was issued upon the Commonwealth to show cause why the truck should not be returned to appellant. A hearing on the same was held on July 21, 1980, which resulted in the following order:
AND NOW, this 21st day of July, 1980, upon consideration of the foregoing Petition, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Detective Lennon of the Pittsburgh Police Auto Squad, or his alternate, shall return a certain 1974 Ford Truck bearing serial number SF25YCVO7228PA to John Yorkgitis, together with the title, owner's card and insurance card, upon approval of the Pa. State Police. No towing & poundage to be charged.
In accordance with the trial court's order, the vehicle was inspected by the Pennsylvania State Police who advised appellant by letter that the vehicle did not qualify for a
[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 336]
reconstructed vehicle title because appellant had failed to produce the necessary indicia of ownership. Furthermore, the police informed appellant, because no reconstructed vehicle title could be issued, the truck could not be returned to him.*fn1 After receiving this letter, appellant again petitioned the trial court for relief, this time entitling his petition as a "Petition for Rule to Show Cause Why a Motor Vehicle Should Not be Returned to Owner." A rule was issued, and a hearing held on February 5, 1981. At the conclusion of that hearing, the trial court indicated that ...