Sep 26, 2011 4:44 PM by Andy Koen

Sheriff temporarily halts "till taps"

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa has temporarily halted his deputies from taking money from the cash registers and safes of local businesses in a practice known as "till taps." Colorado law permits sheriff's deputies to execute court ordered Writs of Execution to collect money on behalf of the court.

However, in an interview with News 5 on Monday, Maketa said he is holding off on the practice until he can research the law more.

"I did commit to Mayor Bach's office that I would hold off," Maketa said. "I needed to check the statutory requirements as I don't want to be held in contempt and it does give time to hold off the service of further till taps."

On Friday, deputies collected cash from the drawers and safes of three Colorado Springs Ace Loan and Pawn businesses. It was the second time this month that deputies have collected from the business.

The owner, Steve Wilcox, has refused to pay any Stormwater Enterprise fees. This summer, a collections agency hired by the city, filed suit against Wilcox and won.

Maketa believes the till taps are outdated and that state statutes need to be updated. "We have electronic banking, we have modern technology, if the courts feel that strongly, there is no reason they can't seize those funds through electronic means," Maketa said.

In August, City Council voted to collect on all delinquent Stormwater Enterprise fees. Notices were mailed out last week on roughly 18,000 properties that are listed as delinquent. If the fees remain unpaid, the city has asked the county treasurer to attach the fees to property tax bills.

We will have much more on this story tonight at 5:00 on News 5.

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