LEHI, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The Lehi Police Department is calling out another group of enforcers that may be abusing its power.
Officers say car towing companies are using predatory tactics and costing people hundreds of dollars. While many are contracted with housing complexes to enforce parking policies, residents and law enforcement authorities say towers are taking their jobs way too far.
Eighteen year-old Tristen Nora treks around the Westbury Condominiums complex and all the way across the street every time he leaves home.
“It’s really annoying,” Mora said.
The local college student says he does it to avoid forking out anymore of his hard-earned dollars, like he did a couple weeks ago, when a local car towing company tried hauling his Ford Explorer out of the parking lot.
“I came running out here, and he was already hooking my car up to his truck…” Mora recalled. “He said, ‘If you want me to stop, you have to pay $75,'” Mora said.
Mora says he paid the company to avoid any trouble, though he still does not know what he did wrong.
“I was really angry, because, I mean, I live here. Why can’t I park in there?” Mora said.
“Is that when you started parking out here?” Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen asked, referring to Mora’s vehicle parked on a street outside the complex (along with many others).
“Yeah, because they said they’d come and tow me again, and that this time I’d have to pay $200,” he said.
Turns out, Mora is not the only person having troubles.
“I just moved in here 48 hours ago, and… instead of, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood! Here’s a local, fun park to go to,’ [the neighbors’ greetings are more like], ‘Hey be careful with parking,'” one resident said.
Others throughout the city are telling similar stories, and the situation has local law enforcement expressing concern.
“We’ve received numerous complaints coming in to our office stating that there are tow companies going out on their own into apartment complexes and home owners associations and just towing cars at random, for no real explanation,” said Lt. Toby Peterson, with Lehi City Police.
Lehi officers are now asking the city council to prohibit companies from towing without first receiving an official complaint from the home owner’s association they are contracted with. Officials also want towers to drive marked trucks and wear uniforms so people know they are legitimate.
“[The city council is] very interested to in… listening to the citizens’ complaints, the issues, and seeing if we can’t come to some sort of agreement,” Peterson said.
The Lehi City Council plans on looking at proposed solutions to the problem on April 26th.