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Crime Report: Thankless Job Edition

by ARLnow.com September 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm 1,575 32 Comments

Getting your car towed is not fun. But that doesn’t mean you have to take it out on the tow truck driver. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

ASSAULT AND BATTERY-ARREST 09/15/10, 600 block of S. Carlin Springs Road. On September 15 at 2:20 pm, a man assaulted a tow truck driver. Jose Merida, 44, of Arlington, was charged with Assault and Battery. He was held on a $4,000 bond.

The rest of the report, after the jump.

ROBBERY 09/21/10, 300 block of N. Glebe Road. On September 21 at 4:30 pm, an unknown man entered an office suite and demanded money while brandishing a sharp object. The clerk surrendered a moneybag and the suspect fled. The suspect is described as a man, 5’7” with a husky build. He was wearing dark pantyhose or stockings over his face.

LATE ROBBERY 09/19/10, 5500 block of Columbia Pike. On September 19 at 3 am, three unknown men assaulted another man and stole his wallet. The victim reported the crime at a later time. The suspects were all African American males in their mid-20’s.

ASSAULT ON POLICE-ARREST 09/17/10, 2900 block of Columbia Pike. On September 17 at 11:45 pm, an officer was assaulted while arresting a disorderly man. Stanley Terry, 47, of no fixed address, was charged with Assault on Law Enforcement, Resisting Arrest, and Disorderly Conduct.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY 09/18/10, 1500 block of S. Fern Street. On September 18 at 9 pm, a clerk was assaulted by an unknown man after an argument over lottery tickets. The suspect is described as an African American male in his late 20’s, 5’8” and 170 lbs. He was wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and a black baseball hat.

EXPOSURE 09/19/10, 1600 block of S. Eads Street. On September 19 at 9 am, a man standing in a stairwell exposed himself to a couple that walked by. The suspect is unknown.

BURGLARY 09/20/10, 4900 block of N. 29th Street. On September 20 at 10:45 am, a man walked into his house and found a stranger inside. When confronted the suspect fled carrying several items. The suspect was not located. He was described as an African American male in his 30’s and 6’2” tall. He was wearing shorts, a light colored shirt, a dark jacket and a baseball cap.

COMMERCIAL BURGLARY 09/18/10, 1700 block of N. Glebe Road. Between 10:20 pm on September 17, and 9 am on September 18, an unknown subject broke into a school and stole a laptop computer. There are no known suspects.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY-ARREST 09/16/10, 5000 block of S. 7th Road. On September 16 at 5:50 pm, two teenage males entered a vacant apartment. When police located them, one was found in possession of marijuana. They were both detained and charges are pending.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY-ARREST 09/21/10, 1700 block of Clarendon Boulevard. On September 21 at 2 am, officers located a man living inside a vacant property. Lashonn Daniel, 37, of no fixed address, was charged with Unlawful Entry. He was held on a $1,250 bond.

ATTEMPT BURGLARY 09/20/10, 1500 block of N. Rhodes Street. Between midnight on September 17, and 2 pm on September 19, an unknown subject attempted to enter an apartment by lifting the screens on four windows. There are no known suspects.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 09/21/10, 1700 block of N. Moore Street. On September 21 between 9:30 am and 5 pm, an unknown subject broke into at least two vehicles, stealing items from each. There are no known suspects.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (SERIES) 09/18/10, 500 block of N. Pollard Street. On September 18 at 9:30 am, seven vehicles were found spray painted in the same neighborhood. There are no known suspects.

  • go jose

    most tow truck drivers are very rude and mean. i had one harass me and try to run me over!

  • Katie

    I agree. They’re really despicable people.

    • TGEoA

      Not as despicable as people who park their cars on someone elses property without permission.

  • John Shaft

    I am sure this was a driver for a predatory towing company “enforcing” some BS parking issue just to rip people off. Assaulting them should be allowed and encouraged. If they don’t like it, get a respectable job.

    • ArlRes

      Yeah — Like repo man. That’s it! His car was probably being repo’ed!

    • Katie

      I agree. I used to live at Bedford Park, just off Washington Blvd. A predatory tow truck operator would sit and wait for some hapless visitor to arrive. It took them seconds to find a victim, and they were very stealthy. The lot was in Tysons Corner–an expensive cab ride.

      Once, after coming back from my parents’ house for Christmas, I had a rental car and the parking permit wouldn’t attach to the mirror. I’d put it on the dashboard and it had fallen onto the floor while I was taking in packages. I came out 5 minutes later and the car was gone. I also had bronchitis, and had to go retrieve my car from those &^%^%s. They sit in their cage and sneer at people–honestly, they’re all right out of prison and they know how to quietly steal; that’s why they take that job.

      Another time, a friend came to get me and take me out to Ray’s for my bday. He was running late, and arrived at 8:00. I said, you didn’t park out front, did you?! Uh, yea? No! It’s towing time! Yup, it was gone. Couldn’t have been more than a few minutes past 8 at that point.

      • Deb

        Wow. I know a guy who used to be a tow truck driver. He was not a criminal. Just a young guy trying to make a living. You didn’t follow the rules and you got caught, so own it and stop whining.

        • Katie

          Deb hangs out with low-life scum. Fact.

    • Lou

      There’s a guy that operates around Ballston like that. We’ve stood on my buddy’s balcony and watched him pluck people out of IHOP all the time. He has a kid he uses as a spotter, while he idles behind the church across the street or behind the 7-11. I’ve seen them hook people up in no time, and even drag cars out the wrong way or almost sideways, alarms blazing.

  • Katie

    To clarify, I was agreeing with John Shaft’s “I am sure this was a driver for a predatory towing company “enforcing” some BS parking issue just to rip people off. Assaulting them should be allowed and encouraged. If they don’t like it, get a respectable job.”

  • el fat kid

    A few years ago I had an Advanced Towing driver threaten to kill me when i showed up as he was hooking up my car. Ended up calling the cops who 1) did nothing about the death threats made by the driver 2) did not have any clue about Arlington county code.

    If you arrive on the scene and your car is in the process of being hooked up they are required to accept a $25 payment in lieu of towing and release your car. The drivers will lie, threaten and steal your vehicle to avoid doing this. If the tow operator refused to do this, I think the person described above was acting reasonably in preventing their car from being stolen.

    The predatory tow companies in Arlington really are the scum of the earth.

  • Brett

    Those tow guys are unethical jackasses and simply out for the quick buck. My family of 5 (all under 6 years old) went to Carvel in Clarendon for ice cream in March one night after a movie. We parked by accident at PioPio right next door – lot was essentially empty. Once inside Carvel we saw all the warnings about parking at PioPio – I immediately left to find another parking space. Within 2.5 minutes our minivan was towed, with all car seats and blankets and toys at 9 p.m. at night. No way to get the family home for bed. The nice owner / manager at Carvel offered to drive me to the tow station to get my car – said he puts up a sign outside to warn people, but the tow truck operators always tear it down. Arlnow should set up a scenario such as this and report on it (would be great investigative reporting) – it still happens!

  • Katie

    “It would take longer than 2.5 minutes to call the tow company (they don’t just magically know when to come)”

    They don’t need to be CALLED. They’re there…hiding in the dark, lying in wait for victims. Duh.

  • Katie

    Sam, why do you think it is that businesses have towing in force 24 hours a day? Did you think that the business owner or manager actually knows when people are parked there without patronizing the business, at whatever hour, and some magical parking violation alert gets triggered while they’re sleeping or whatever, that causes them to call the towing company?

    • Sam

      All food establishments in Virginia must have a manager present, on duty, at all times during business hours. Additionally, any staff member could be told to call when someone is seen parking and walking to the other location. It doesn’t have to be the owner or manager. Why would you think that the manager or owner would be the only one that can call?

      Tow truck drivers do not just sit in the dark, lurking and waiting. They perform a job that they are contracted to do. Yes, sometimes they make rounds to all their contracted companies, but they’re doing their jobs. Breach of contract is not a fun position to be in. Be mad at the companies that contract towing companies; don’t be made at the drivers that are trying to do a job.

      • Katie

        That’s incorrect.

        I know that the towing company at my former condo had such a cash cow gig going that they would just stake it out and launch attacks the minute the 8 pm gong sounded.

        No, unfortunately, as a then-renter, no one had educated me before I had a bad experience–car towed from my personal parking spot no less.

        • Sam

          Katie,
          So, a towing company came and took cars that were legally parked in a lot that they were 100% permitted to be in, with full permits showing? Shenanigans.

          • Greg

            My now-wife used to live in a 95% Spanish speaking apartment community in Lincolnia and exactly that happened to her. The tow trucks there were relentless. Many of the tenants didn’t speak English (or may have been undocumented), what were they going to do about being illegally towed?

            Anyway, my wife’s car was towed from a space, even though restrictions for the lot didn’t begin for another two hours. There really wasn’t any reason for the tow truck to even be in the lot, but there he was towing cars.

            We had to fight for a long time to get reimbursed for the tow. The tow company didn’t care, management (as you can imagine at a place like that) didn’t care.

            It happens more than you would think.

  • ArlRes

    Actually, its the towing company that does this, not the property owner.

    It would be expensive for a property owner to hire a tow company to tow cars when they come on their property. They contract with a tow-company whose responsibility it is to tow cars that are parked on private property without permission.

    The tow company gets the money — not the property owner. This fact provides incentive for rules to be enforced. By the way, the max rate is set by the county.

  • Thes

    Some information about towing from private lots in Arlington:

    http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CountyManager/page70255.aspx

  • Kevin

    Sounds like Katie is just upset that she got punished for violating a rule/condo agreement/legally posted sign. Next thing you know she will get mad at the cop who gives her a ticket because she was speeding or the bus boy who clears her table. Can you believe these people? Actually doing their job, how appalling.

    • Katie

      Hm, let’s see. Brett, Lou, and elfatkid and I shared similar stories and opinions, and yet only I have been attacked.

      ArlNow, how about banning Kevin for harassment and sexism? Thanks.

  • John Shaft

    For Sam and others who seem to be in support of the tow companies, let me tell you why I have such a problem with these drivers.

    One of my biggest beefs is when you see a tow truck hook up a car quickly then drag it away from the immediate area. Once clear of the view of people from where they picked up the car, the driver will then stop, and finish hooking up the safety straps and securing the vehicle they are towing. Why don’t they secure the vehicle completely at the point of pickup? Because they don’t want to drop the car for the lower fee, they want to escape with the car and get full charge for the tow. In that short period of picking up the car, until they stop to secure it, they are in violation of DOT regulations. Yet they act righteous and say they are just following the rules to the victim that has to pay exorbitant fees for having their car jacked.

    Another, they will use a slimjim to open the car door so they can shift the car into neutral to tow it. This can damage the weatherstripping and seals around the window, but they have a disclaimer sign posted saying they are not responsible for damage. Next rainstorm water leaks in and soaks items stored in the door pockets.

    Another, when the tow truck can’t open the door without setting off the car alarm, and cant pull the car straight out because the trailing wheels are locked, they will use small roller jacks to jack the locked wheels of the car up, then pull the car out to a spot that they can reposition and lift the other end. In the process of this, those roller jacks can and often do tip over, and cause damage to the bottom of the car.

    I could rail on these scam artists all day, but the last thing I will say, is property owners dont have to go searching for a tow company to enforce their parking. The tow companies solicit their services to every property owner they can find, offer the signs, then sit back and wait for their chance to cash in. And for those unfortunate people who have had their car towed (apparently not Sam) when you show up the next morning (because they prefer to tow at night, when the office is not open so they can charge overnight storage) you will find a bunch of those predator truck drivers waiting for their commission.

    To clarify on my earlier statement, I do not support assaulting the AAA man or other helpful drivers that are rescuing stranded motorists in need of assistance. But those ex-con d-bags cruising the parking lots, I would absolutely deny witnessing or give a false statement to police, if I saw a victim take a baseball bat to one of those parasites.

    • Katie

      >clap clap clap clap clap clap<

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