Toad Away

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As a follow-up to Monday's post about predatory tow trucks, here's an interesting report in The Scottsdale Times on how some Arizona towing companies are abusing the state's abandoned vehicle system:

The process [Flagstaff tow man Jessie] Sensibar is so fond of is the Arizona abandoned vehicle procedure, which simply requires a tow company to send the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) paperwork claiming a vehicle has been abandoned. Unless the vehicle is reported stolen, the MVD mails the tow company an abandoned vehicle authorization 30 days later.

The problem is, in cases like Lisa Carroll's, the vehicle has not been abandoned at all. Rather, the owner of the tow yard refuses to release the vehicle to its owner and "stonewalls" them by creating multiple reasons for holding on to it.

The tow company then gets to keep the vehicle, to use or resell as it sees fit. Carroll's truck, for example, is now employed as Sensibar's snowplow.

Side comment: The article describes the industry as "unregulated," but it sounds to me like the problem is a poorly crafted regulation that makes corruption easier.

NEXT: Operation Meth Merchant

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  1. Legit tow guys have a tough-enough time with people who want to be above the law. Scummy tow guys make it worse. How about opening a wrecker company to impound the scummy guys’ trucks?

  2. Better yet, what about my earlier idea of making an unauthorized tow the same as grand theft auto? Because I really don’t see the difference.

  3. Or the scummy tow guys have enough contacts in the government that they are immune to any official action, complaint, or prosecution, which would be a failure of some part of the government system.

    The problem about the unauthorized towing = grand theft is that the rules are crafted, along with traffic laws, so that you are constantly in violation of something, unless you are particularly vigilant. Therefore the tows aren’t ‘unauthorized’, just pedantic and extortionate. That you are usually not towed (or pulled over) for these piddly regulations doesn’t mean you aren’t in violation.

    I’m wholeheartedly convinced that ‘our’ government desires the ability to stop, detain, or just out and out pick on any citizen at any time, and will continue to write laws that nibble away at things until you’re at their mercy (people can argue about the rate). These crumbums are just exploiting the rules the government is putting in place for itself.

  4. One thing I thought was funny on that Frank’s spoof site was the list of threats the guy’s received. My fav:

    “The Caller ID said “Frank’s Towing”. The caller asked me what my address was. I gave him the PO box address I use for my business. He persisted and asked for the actual physical address. When I mentioned that I could see “Frank’s Towing” on the Caller ID, there was a long pause followed by a dial tone.”

    Not the brightest bulb on the tree.

  5. Obscure Firesign Theater headline reference — ten points to Gryffindor!

  6. I didn’t think anyone would catch that…

    Toad away, toad away
    Toad away, toad away
    Where do you go when you’re toad away?

  7. So obviously the first thing to do, when you suspect your car has been towed in Arizona, is to report it stolen.

  8. I blame this problem on all the fucking Californians who keep moving here because their own state is so screwed up.

    I have no evidence for that, of course.

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