Monday, April 12, 2010

Expired Inspection & Registration Scams by Towing Companies

During the last session of the Legislature, one of the key changes I sought, was to increase the criminal penalty for violating any part of the Texas Towing Law. The reason for this change, which failed in a previous session, was to have a deterrent to encourage towing company owners to stop providing financial incentives to parking facilities use them as their towing company.

As it appears now, it hasn't deterred the giving of freebies, as some towing companies advertise their services for free, including free legal representation. I believed with increasing the criminal penalty, that law enforcement would take a different approach in addressing criminal illegal towing occurring in their communities. Many police agencies do absolutely nothing with regards to criminal conduct among towing companies operating in their jurisdiction.  Smaller city police department would be wise not to second guess their towing company buddies about committing criminal acts, that are an arrestable offense.

You sure can't rely on TDLR to enforce criminal law, I have already been told their agency doesn't have a law enforcement arm like the attorney general or state comptroller. By the way, just as soon as a police agency arrested a child molester, TDLR is issuing them an Occupation License to resume harming citizens. 

A continuing scam towing companies are involved in, are telling a property manager they are not required to send the 10 day notice, informing the registered owner of the vehicle there vehicle will be towed in 10 days if the inspection or registration stickers are not current.
What is happening, is towing company employees are stickering vehicles for these issues and towing them after a couple of days, depriving the registered owner of his vehicle. This type of criminal conduct could warrant Felony Theft, because the towing company didn't have permission to sticker, much less tow the vehicle.

Please forward this information to other law enforcement agencies you know, because everyone needs to be on the same page with enforcement of this criminal activity. If you are unaware about how to address a towing issue, there are plenty of resources available. LEO can contact APD Det Loosier at 512-974-8122, COA City Attorney Douglas at 512-974-2667 or Pat Johnson at 512-291-2063.

The fight is long from over, as these towing criminal enterprises are sprouting up everyday and some are operating outside of law without the required permits.