ALBANY -- The state attorney general has stepped in to help 176 Fort Drum soldiers retrieve their personal vehicles after some of them complained that a storage company hadn't properly maintained the autos while the owners were stationed overseas.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's staff took possession of files and keys from now defunct Fort Drum Storage LLP on Friday and said at least 16 vehicles have been returned to owners.

"Vehicles stored by the company are safe, but will require alternate arrangements to be promptly made for their continued storage," Assistant Attorney General Deanna Nelson wrote in an email on Monday to affected soldiers. The company was also doing business as Indoor Vehicle Storage.

They can leave cars in their current warehouses, move them to a free, unsecured lot on post or make other private arrangements, Nelson wrote. They can stop payments to the original storage company, challenge credit card payments going back 90 days and consider private legal action, especially if they find their vehicles damaged, she wrote.

Spc. Sereana Brockington told The Watertown Times that her car was moved to an Oswego warehouse and was not properly maintained during her nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. She said the engine had not been started, the battery wasn't maintained and the tires weren't checked, maintenance she was promised and paid for. Soldiers were paying $100 to $150 a month.

A call to the Watertown storage company's owner, identified by the attorney general's office as JoAnn Sanchez-Norquist, was not immediately returned yesterday.

Fort Drum posted an alert on its Facebook page last week telling soldiers, civilian employees and families of the storage company's issues. A base spokesman said it involved a private company using the fort's name.

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