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Who Will Tow the Tow Truck?

by ARLnow.com June 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm 6,952 65 Comments

(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) A reader sent us these photos, taken today at the intersection of N. Edgewood Street and Wilson Boulevard.

The tipster said he spotted an Advanced tow truck idling in a no parking zone close to the intersection, in front of the Clarendon Whole Foods. Upon closer inspection, he says he noticed that the driver was asleep and the engine was running. The truck sat there “for at least 45 minutes,” hindering the ability of Edgewood Street drivers to see cars and pedestrians coming up Wilson Boulevard, according to the tipster.

“If I did this I’d be towed,” he declared.

  • RJ

    Thats nice of the reader, someone looses their job today. And i’d imagine it’s illegal to tow a car with a person in it.

    • Arrrrrlington

      The guy works for the towing company. Losing his job will give him the opportunity to find something more virtuous. Who knows, maybe he goes home, gets motivated, goes back to school and starts a company.

      Zero sympathy for him otherwise.

      • JackFan

        Zero sympathy here too as I was towed THIS MORNING by Advanced b/c my condo association parking expired on 31 May. TWO! freaking days ago. Tow companies suck.

        • DudeGuy

          Well you would have not gotten towed if your parking sticker had not been expired. This is your fault not the towing companies.

          • R0bespierre

            Are you really too dull to see the difference between towing as civil maintenance and towing as hawk-like profiteering?

          • Maria

            Do you think people should be able to break any rule they want and not face the consequences? He’s lucky they waited two days.

          • MB

            This isn’t ‘Nam! There are rules!

          • billj

            I’m sorry, Smokey. You were over the line, that’s a foul.

          • Newbs

            Shut up Donny!

          • R0bespierre

            For two freaking days? Yes. Only a city full of anal lawyers would think this sort of hyperactive enforcement is normal or acceptable when dealing with human beings and their imperfect lives. People sometimes forget things or get tied up. Get a soul?

          • Maria

            So R0bespierre, after how long does it become acceptable to hold people accountable for breaking rules, intentional or not? I once totally forgot to get my safety inspection done (I am an imperfect human, after all), and I got a ticket on June 4. Should I have bitched and moaned because they ticketed me after only 4 “freaking” days? Or is 2 the limit? 3?

            There are deadlines on these things for a reason. JackFan had an entire year (I assume) to take care of renewing his permit. Why should he get two extra days? If they towed him at 12:01am the day it expired, I might agree with you about this being “hyperactive enforcement,” but it wasn’t. Two days gave him plenty of time.

        • doodly

          Zero sympathy for a whiner whose sticker expired and thinks he should get some kind of special treatment because it only expired 2 days ago.

          • Z

            But, but, I’m a special, unique snowflake and rules don’t apply to me!

        • FedUp

          You should talk to your condo association. The towing company does what is asked of them by organizations that hire them.

        • Failed Again

          Agreed! He could begin a new support group for former tow workers…we could then chalk it up a virtuous turn in careers.

    • Anon

      That someone was literally sleeping on the job. In a no parking zone. Little sympathy.

  • LVGuy

    Probably watching the Walgreen’s parking lot.

  • Bard

    That truck sits there pretty frequently. Don’t let the nap fool you — he pounces on Walgreen’s parkers with great haste.

    • D

      Lmao…. Thats my uncle!!!!!!

  • Towed

    I have seen a scout or spotter in a old pick-up truck in the Walgreens parking lot that will call or radio in to Advanced Towing if he see a person park and not enter the store. I can imagine the scout gets a fee for doing this.

    • Southeast Jerome

      yeah they have kids that sit at the Golds Gym lot on Wilson and do the same thing. Pretty sure they import these low lifes from Manassas or Woodbridge.

      • Better to put these kids to work than have them stealing for a hobby. Oh, wait, they kind of are stealing aren’t they?

  • Bob

    Towing companies are the most corrupt businesses in the country. If they incorrectly tow your car, you still have to pay. No one regulates them. No one.

    • doodly

      Well, no, actually, they are regulated, at least in Arlington.

      • Westover

        There are regulations, but they are not always enforced the way they should be.

        • doodly

          True, but that’s quite different from “no one regulates them.”

  • SoCo Resident

    Nice shady spot! Pretty funny. There should be a regular website for pics of Advanced Towing Company employees – as well as County employees parked at the expired meters on Pershing Dr. and all those many, many, many County employees driving while talking on their cell phones.

    Oh, pics of the County trucks that drive employees to their individual private cars parked in neighborhoods would be nice too. Don’t want them to have to walk.

  • G550

    Isn’t he technically stopping or standing?

  • TMP

    Tow companies in Arlington are legalized auto theft. Since 1999, I’ve been towed three times from my own parking lot, despite having a valid parking tag. Each time, they returned my vehicle and I was ultimately not charged, but there is nothing like walking out of your home in South Arlington to go to work to find that your vehicle has been towed to Crystal City, Springfield or Ballston. Each time their reaction was that they had done no wrong. Even when I got property management involved, their reaction was simply that I should come get my vehicle, which is kind of hard when they have your only means of transportation. Then when I got there and point out the parking sticker or tag, they simply shrug and are unapologetic. I’m lucky in that all three times I was able to get my vehicle back without having to pay, but each time it was a major hassle.

    • Wanker

      You should have taken them to court for lost wages.

    • mickey644

      who’s the fool? The towing company or the person that did nothing when they got towed illegally?

      • CW

        I’m sorry but that’s mean. Not everyone has the time, resources, or legal knowledge to hang out in small claims court all day.

        • Mickey

          It’s people like you that take a punch and don’t fight back that cause the problems….it’s always someone else that has to take the time to fight your battles. Much easier to have no huevos, turn your back and walk away.

  • The Native

    Most of those companies deal in cash and many times don’t accurately report earnings. I think after like 20 years Frank King owner of a tow company in Arlington and ex-cop finally got arrested and convicted of tax fraud. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy. These guys are so corrupt they deserve to lose their jobs. All of them not just this loafer.

    • TMP

      More than once I’ve seen people catch a tower prepping their car for a tow only to have the guy offer to put it back down for $20. Doubt that money went to the company or was reported as taxable income. Again, legalized auto theft.

      • The Native

        Maybe, however the law states that if a tow truck has hooked you but hasn’t left they MUST release the car for $25. Not sure where it goes… But they have to give the car back.

  • V Dizzle

    Its really standing, not parking though I believe we have laws against idling which involve fines.

  • Shane

    45 minutes!!? That’s some lazy police “work” on the part of the ACPD.

    Yes, that’s right. L-A-Z-Y.

    • charlie

      someone should call the police. they don’t like advanced anymore than we do.

  • Arlingtron

    Guy could have been overcome by vehicle exhaust fumes. Next time you see him call 911 and have the fire department show up with equipment, sirens, rescue crews approaching, etc. Not fond of wasting Arlington resources but expenses and fines will make someone wake up and make them end that practice.

    • Tabby

      Excellent idea.

      The parking enforcement vee-hick-ulls drive around those blocks regularly. There’s no way they didn’t notice him.

    • AdvancedAreCrooks

      Hate to burst your bubble, but a call like that would probably be dispatched as an “unknown medical/man down” and would (most likely) only get one engine company and a medic unit, with no cops. If it’s not a situation in which personal injury to a FF or medic is likely (traffic accidents, assaults, shootings, drunks, etc.), then ACPD isn’t likely to show unless specifically requested by ACFD. And I doubt the FF’s would raise much of a fuss over a sleeping tow trucker, other than being called out (and risking their lives while responding) to something totally BS, wasting their time, your tax dollars and potentially endangering someone with a legitimate emergency when they’re out of position to respond while dealing with Mr. Thief Tow…

      That being said, Advanced tows really are just shy of legalized auto theft in some cases…

  • TGEoA

    I love Advanced. The people they tow will get mad and not come back to Clarendon.

  • Fighting back with this photo. I love it. You would think as hated as they and with as many cell phone cameras out there that there would be more of these kinds of snapshots popping up online. Someone should copy this story to ACPD so they can issue a ticket after the fact.

  • gurglebook

    Some observations:

    – They guy may lose his job now. Good.

    – Someone should have banged on the window to make sure he was okay. If he was, they should have cursed him out.

    – Advanced Towing probably whines about high gas prices. Idling for 45 minutes in a truck means you don’t get to whine any more. In fact, idling for more than a minute does that. Stop idling, people, there’s no good reason for it and you waste gas and pollute the air.

    • OPEC

      No — please keep idling, everyone.

      Kindest regards,

  • Daniel

    Call the Police non-emergency # 703-558-2222….while he probably wouldn’t get a ticket, ACPD would nudge him along with a nice air horn.

  • tipster

    The lunatics are running the asylum – the owner of Advanced Towing, John O’Neill, sits on Arlington County’s Towing Advisory Board.

  • Tater

    Thanks for not blurring his face. (You can stop blurring license plates, too. If it’s visible in public, it’s public.)

  • CW

    Would have been funny if a flash mob had been convened to simultaneously egg the truck.

    • darrel

      as long as the eggs are cage-free

  • JP

    I walk by the walgreens almost daily and the same guy is either sitting in his car in the back of the lot or he is sitting in the bushes by the walgreens sign at the corner of the street across from whole foods. I would bet that he is with advanced towing.

    Walgreens has put up a sign by the register about their towing practices, basically says we will tow you even if you come in here and spend money then step foot off the lot. Poor business practices in my opinion.

    • Hank

      The dollar store near the DMV in South Arlington has gone so far as to change the date/time on their register receipts so you can’t contest the towing vultures when they have towed your lot. It is your word against them posessing your car and your receipt shows 4 am on Jan 2014.

      • Joe Hoya

        Well, the future me really needed condoms that night.

        • John Fontain

          Well played sir.

  • DooDool

    Isn’t idling illegal in Arlington?

    • Tater Salad

      Try telling that to the folks in the cafe at Barnes & Noble.

  • Jake_o

    Yes they are def. vultures circling Walgreens on a daily basis ready to pounce. After spending over $175 in Walgreens and going across the street to the engraver, my truck was gone in a matter of less than 10 mins. One hour and $145 later I got my truck back.

    Screw Advance but more importantly screw Walgreens for hiring that hilbilly towing mafia. When I went to talk to the store manager about my truck being GONE after just spending close to $200 in his store, he kid shrugged and said ‘they have the contract for the lot there’s nothing we can do’. Advance was absolutely watching that lot either via video or someone local during the daytime. Don’t even think about leaving the Walgreens and walking across the street or to Whole Foods – your vehicle will be gone, guaranteed. Come to think of it, just go to CVS up the street and let Walgreens enjoy an empty lot for a while until they fire those goats. I for one won’t be going back to that store for a while.

    • Hrmm

      So you parked illegally and got towed? What’s the problem?

      There is always an excuse by everyone for why the rules don’t apply to them. If 20 people parked at Walgreens and then ran up and down the street to the other stores for “just” 10 minutes, where would the people who want to go to Walgreens park?

  • john

    Had Dante lived in the 21st century, being a tow truck driver would be the 10th circle of hell.

    I’ve observed sleeping Advanced Towing drivers on N. Wakefield near Fairfax Drive. I sure am glad my parents sent me to elementary school, I would hate to have to live my live as such scum.

  • Bender

    Spies and towing thuggery.

    Gotta love that urban village. Its a veritable paradise.

  • SleepingWithBothEyesOpen

    My job is to make sure Walgreen’s and other properties have parking for valued customers that is why I sleep with one eye open. Thank you very much and careful where you park!

  • Brandy

    WOW really thats too funny… he was tired

  • James

    Advanced are vultures.

    I work a block from the Walgreens and walk there almost daily to get something.

    The tow trucks basically wait and as soon as they see someone leave the lot, they pounce.

    The difference is it use to be that lot owners would have to call for a tow. Now with their stupid ‘contracts’ the tow companies enforce the parking.

    Faccia Luna had to get on them about the lot behind them because the tow truck drivers were towing people while they were waiting for their table…which on the weekends is something like 45 min to an hour…some people go across the street to get money from the ATM, etc.

    We got towed from there without ever walking anywhere but in and out of Faccia Luna. The owner called and they brought the car back but didn’t even stop to apologize and wouldnt even roll down the window to talk.

    They also towed my friend from the parking lot that use to exist where the shopping center is with Crate and Barrel. He had a visible pass in the window and they ignored it and then tried to claim he didn’t have one.

    There’s a special place in hell reserved for these guys.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      You’re right about these guys. These are not the friendly “folks from AAA” who will tow your broken-down car or give you a jump when your battery is dead. These are opportunistic vultures who make a ton of cash from the shady “lot enforcement” racket.

      Here’s a little movie about Advanced’s kindred spirits up in Boston:



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