Court: No need to sell Mercedes to pay for stolen BMW

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today ruled that a man who stole a BMW from a Bloomington car dealer doesn’t have to sell his Mercedes to pay restitution for his crime.

While the court upheld a lower court’s ruling that Andrew Alexander pay Motorwerks BMW more than $16,000 for the damage he caused to the car and the $10,000 discount the dealer had to make in order to subsequently sell it, it said the court couldn’t order the method by which Alexander has to come up with the cash.

Alexander owns a 1993 Mercedes and at the time of his conviction, made less than $5,000 a year.

“It may well be that a district court should have the authority to order a defendant to sell personal property to satisfy a restitution order, but it is up to the legislature, and not us, to change the law,” Court of Appeals Judge Francis Connolly wrote in today’s decision (pdf).

But Connolly rejected Alexander’s insistence that he couldn’t have caused the damage.

“I handled it with extreme care. Ever since I got my first car at 16, I’ve had the privilege of driving a luxury foreign vehicle, and I treated it as I have all my other cars, with utmost care and affection.” He also stated, “I’ve had these types of cars my whole entire life. . . . And so there’s feasibly no way for me to have done any of this 6 damage.”

But appellant admitted that he drove the BMW throughout the Twin Cities during the two-week period that he possessed the car. And, before being apprehended, he was traveling 25-30 miles per hour in a St. Paul alley that the arresting officer described as “rough” and “rutted.”

At the time of sentencing, Alexander was a senior in college with a finance major and economics minor.

There was no indication in today’s decision how he intended to pay the cash, although at his sentencing, he indicated it might not be a problem.

“I’ve already had job [interviews]. I just had one about three and a half months ago at Investors Bank downtown. Some of my buddies from prep school, their father’s [sic] work in investment banking, so it was rather easy for me to network through that,” today’s decision quoted him as saying.