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Philadelphia Councilman Has Another Idea To Rein In Rogue Tow Truck Drivers

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Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If at first you don’t succeed … a city councilman is going to try yet again to rein in the problem of tow truck operators who cart away cars from private property. The first plan, passed by Council two years ago, has failed. So it’s on to Plan B.

Plan A — which became law two years ago — says a car on private property must first be ticketed by police before it is towed, with the ticket serving as proof that the car should in fact be moved.

But Councilman Jim Kenney, who authored that plan, admits now that police are often too busy to show up.

“It’s time to retrench and figure something else out,” Kenney said.

So Kenney is introducing Plan B — which would require towers to instead take photos of the car proving it is parked improperly.

“What we’re going to suggest now is that we don’t require the ticket. The tower will have to provide photographic evidence and hold it for 60 days,” Kenney explained.

That way, he says, if the owner says the car should not have been towed, the matter can go to arbitration with the photos used as proof.

“It would show the license plate of the car and it would show the position car, indicating that either he did not have a sticker for a particular condo or apartment building, or was parked in illegal towing zone on private property.”

The original issue that sparked both plans was a rash of unscrupulous tow truck operators who move cars that are parked perfectly legally from parking lots and driveways, then force owners to pay big bucks to get their cars back.

Kenney hopes the new plan requiring photos would end that problem without greatly inconveniencing the legitimate towers. The measure will be debated in committee. This involves only private property — cars parked on city streets are towed only by the Parking Authority.

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