grandsamspawpaw, apparently that is true, at least it is if the vehicle was a noteworthy van in bad shape parked on the owner’s private party. Then according to one court you can just take it if you claim “somebody said it was OK.” It is one thing if the vehicle has been sitting on your property or another property owner gives you permission to take an abandoned vehicle from their property. If that’s the case you should notify local law enforcement that you are taking this vehicle with the land owner’s permission on a signed piece of paper. Paper trail is the key. I used to tow abandoned vehicles in Florida and at the time, early 80s, I got a signed tow authorization from the property owner, towed it, notified the sheriff’s dept., contacted the motor vehicle dept. to find the owner and sent a certified return requested letter to the owner. After 45 days without the owner claiming it, I had to put out notice and hold a public auction to satisfy my towing & storage. If nobody bought it, only then I could claim legal ownership and do whatever to the vehicle.
This, of course is a sheriff’s auction and I believe it is being conducted according to the law. It is a shame when the car was first acquired by the sheriff the owner’s friend who found out about it and told them then who the owner was, wasn’t able to contact the owner at the time for him to retrieve the car. Then all was forgotten until now and now the owner needs to step up and prove ownership which must be done any time any vehicle can be released after it is impounded by law enforcement.