Petersburg sues its sheriff; asks for cars to be returned

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The city of Petersburg is suing its own sheriff. City leaders say this is in an attempt to reclaim vehicles the sheriff’s department no longer needs.

When the city jail closed earlier this year, the fleet of cars dropped from 43 to 11. The city of Petersburg says Sheriff Vanessa Crawford is holding additional vehicles that her department no longer needs.

Some residents in Petersburg believe the lawsuit brings negative attention to the city.

“It doesn’t look good for the city. The city is trying to grow, what’s the purpose, I just don’t understand,” says Bobbie Prosise, a Petersburg resident.

“We need to work together, not against each other,” Yaunfon Cannon told 8news. “If she needs the vehicles, she needs the vehicles. If she has excess vehicles, I’d say give them back.”

After months, there is still no common ground. According to the city there is a list of 11 vehicles that the city towed from the sheriff’s possession. According to the lawsuit. Crawford has the keys and as of the date the lawsuit was filed, the keys were not returned to the city. The lawsuit states that if all the cars were to be re-keyed, the fee would be $3,045.

The lawsuit also states that there are additional vehicles that the sheriff is in possession of that rightfully belong to the city.

Crawford denies hiding any vehicles. She told 8News that city officials are fully aware of where the cars are being parked.

Crawford released the following statement when asked to comment about the lawsuit against her:

“This has continued to be a personal attack on the sheriff and the sheriff’s office and an effort to diminish the presence of the sheriff’s office in the community. I continue to remain professional, and not reduce myself to the antics that the city attorney and city administration seem to be involved in.”

Beyond what’s stated in the lawsuit, city leaders had no further comment; this is because officials do not comment on pending litigation. The sheriff is currently on vacation. She tells 8News she’ll respond to the lawsuit when she returns.

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