NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans woman was relieved to learn police recovered her stolen car, but now she's being told if she wants to get her car back, she'll need to pay a tow lot more than $800.

It's a common practice in New Orleans that's costing crime victims hundreds of dollars.

Jovanda Downs never thought she'd see her car again after it was stolen from outside her home on Roman Street. Sixteen days later she got a letter from Three Brothers Quick Towing they had recovered her car. Downs was relieved until she learned how much it could cost to pick up her car from the tow lot.

"An employee said 'you can't pick it up, you have to pay $400,'" Downs said.

Employees at Three Brothers towing say they do recover stolen cars fairly frequently and while it is an unfortunate situation, the owner is responsible for at least part of those expenses.

"We work with people since the car has been stolen, it's not their fault, but it's not our fault either, we're just doing our job," an employee, who didn't want to give his name, told Eyewitness News.

Downs says the company towed her abandoned car from a gas station in New Orleans East on Dec. 6 but she wasn't notified they had her car until Dec. 18.

"That's two weeks that went by. So, that's more storage fees building up and now it's January so that's more storage fees and now they're telling me if it sits there for any long their gonna sell it," Downs said.

A few other local tow companies confirm this is a standard practice.

"She still has to pay the fees, there's nothing I can do," the employee said.

Left without money to cover the expense, Downs feels like her car is being stolen all over again.