(WSVN) - He bought a storage unit in an online auction. When he opened the door, he found a motorcycle … but when the storage facility found out, they said he had to return the bike. It’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Talk about a string of bad luck.

Juan Cedeno: “They have to do surgery on my right knee, then I had surgery on my back.”

Juan wasn’t through meeting the doctors and nurses in the operating room.

Juan Cedeno: “Two years ago, I have a car accident and messed up my back again. I have two surgeries in the same place.”

The injuries killed his career as a mechanic, so Juan turned to delivering food, and that dark cloud followed him.

Juan Cedeno: “Deliveries going bad. They’re paying less and less, and the people don’t tip anymore.”

Then, Juan was watching one of those shows where you buy an abandoned storage unit, sight unseen.

Juan decided to try his luck, went online, placed some bids and finally got lucky.

Juan Cedeno: “The girl on the storage place, ‘Hey, that’s the lucky 7.’ 777 was the number of the unit.”

Juan’s winning bid was $1.07 cents.

When he opened the unit, this is what he saw: from the front, a lot of junk.

Then he got to the back.

Juan Cedeno: “And I find this motorcycle in there.”

A Yamaha motorcycle.

Patrick Fraser: “It certainly needs some work.”

Juan Cedeno: “A lot of work.”

It had been in an accident, which Juan can repair.

But first, he needed to get the title. He called the storage facility to get the name of the owner who abandoned the unit.

Juan Cedeno: “They say, ‘No, no, no, you cannot keep the motorcycle. The motorcycle is ours. You have to return it.'”

Patrick Fraser: “Wait a minute. I thought everything you bought in there was yours.”

Juan Cedeno: “That’s what I think.”

Juan said the employee at the storage facility said he needed to bring the bike back to their Palm Beach County building.

Juan Cedeno: “‘Wait, you have to pay me for the transportation and storage. Since you charge people for storage, I can charge you for storage, too, and the transportation wasn’t free,’ and they said, ‘No, we don’t pay you nothing.'”

Juan thought he had gotten lucky when he got a motorcycle at a storage auction for $1.07.

Juan Cedeno: “I feel bad.”

But now he is being told, “You can have everything, except the the motorcycle.”

Juan Cedeno: “‘You have a right to the trash, but not the good things you find in there. If you find something valuable, we keep it. If you find trash, you take it.'”

Well, Howard, does Juan have to return the motorcycle?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No. When you buy a storage unit with all of the contents, it’s yours. The exception is a motorized vehicle or watercraft with an administrative stop or lien on the title. In that case, you have to clear that up to keep the vehicle.”

I started digging, and it was more bad luck for Juan.

The Division of Motor Vehicles told me it was the Boynton Beach Police who put the administrative stop on the title.

I contacted their police spokesperson, who said that’s because, back in 2019, the motorcycle was reported stolen.

Howard, what does that mean for Juan?

Howard Finkelstein: “You cannot get a clear title for a stolen motorcycle, and the police may want to return the bike to the original owner, or they may say, ‘It’s an old case,’ they will withdraw the administrative stop, and it’s Juan’s bike.”

The police have told Juan they are coming to get the motorcycle. He thought he had gotten lucky at the auction, but not this time.

Juan Cedeno: “It’s unfair, but law is law. I have to obey the law and follow the rules.”

Juan could have stripped that motorcycle and sold it for parts, but he is an honest guy. Hopefully, the next storage unit he buys will be a gold mine for him. He deserves it.

In case you are wondering, the storage facility did not do their job. They’re supposed to remove motorized vehicles to avoid problems like this, and if Juan had paid a lot for that unit, they might have to return his money, but he bid $1.07, and it’s just not worth the hassle to get it back.

A problem keeps cycling through your life? Getting no bids to help you solve it? Lien on us, ’cause we’re free.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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