PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police are investigating a bizarre incident overnight that resulted in a repo man towing away a minivan with a 7-year-old girl inside.
Chief Inspector Scott Small says around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, a 26-year-old woman was clocking out of her job at a West Philadelphia Domino’s Pizza, when a tow truck driver repossessed her minivan that was parked outside of the business.
The woman’s 7-year-old daughter was asleep underneath a blanket in the third row.
As the repo man was pulling away from the intersection of 45th and Chestnut Streets, he said a number of people began yelling at him, but he continued to drive away.
The mother then called 911 to report her child had been taken along with the van.
Officers were able to stop the driver a short time later, about a mile-and-a-half away at 50th Street and Woodland Avenue, and found the little girl asleep inside.
“It still concerns us for several reasons. Why did this 26-year-old mother go inside her place of employment for several minutes leaving her 7-year-old daughter in the backseat, all alone at about 2:30 in the morning?” said Chief Inspector Scott Small. “Also of concern is why did this tow truck driver, who’s a repossessor and he has paperwork to repossess this van, why did the tow truck driver repossess this van without checking to make sure no one was inside?”
Tow truck driver Carmino Giannone of Giannone Companies told Eyewitness News it was an honest mistake.
“The vehicle, to me, appeared unoccupied. There’s two car seats in the second row that were empty, that I could see from the mirror of my truck,” he said. “I don’t have to get out of my truck to hook up a car. So, I could see everything basically in the first, all three rows. So, I mean, the kid was under a blanket.”}
The towing company released the following statement on the incident:
“At this time we are fully cooperating with Philadelphia Police. We are happy to report they have cleared our agent of any wrong doing, and we are conducting our own internal investigation as required by company policy. We are thankful that our agent’s body camera was able to record all the events that took place earlier this morning. We are saddened to see an irresponsible parent would put a child’s life in danger, leaving her child alone in a vehicle in the middle of the night, as our agent’s intentions would never be to endanger a child. Our agents safety and security is our number one priority. If any situation that could become hostile is to arise agents are required to remove themselves from the scene immediately, as he did. Our agent, 26 year old Carmino Giannone of Norristown, has over 10 years of experience in this industry with many industry certifications. At this time due to certain federal compliance laws we are unable to release any further details about the vehicle or why it was being towed. We ask that any further questions be forwarded to our company attorney Francis Recchuiti of Norristown 610-279-4200, who has already been made aware of the events that took place this morning and made himself available during our agents questioning.”
Giannone Towing Enforcement Companies
The little girl was not hurt. No word yet on whether any charges will be filed in this case.