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Man says he was 'legally carjacked' by towing company

4:26 AM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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Maloney sent 9Wants to Know a newstip claiming a tow company took his car from a parking lot, while he was still in it.

"It's confusing; it's very unsettling, you're not sure if you're getting robbed or what," Maloney said.

A cheap meal on the go became an expensive ordeal.

"I was pulling through the drive thru. My phone rang the same time I pulled into the lot," Maloney said.

Maloney had to take the call so he pulled into a parking space.

"My pager is on and there is potential that it would force me to go back to the hospital," Maloney said.

Maloney was the doctor on call that night.

"I was on the phone from 6:43 until 7:02," Maloney said.

His call was cut short.

"A white van pulled directly in front of the jeep to block me in so I couldn't anywhere from the front. And then a tow truck pulled directly behind me. And then at the same time three gentlemen came up to my window and started screaming at that I needed to get out of the car. They were towing the car because I was loitering," Maloney said.

A tow company manager, who declined to his give name, said Maloney got out of his car during the phone call and got back in when is tow crew arrived.

Maloney insists he never left the vehicle and kept the engine running the entire time.

"I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was basically getting carjacked. They had me blocked in and while I was sitting in the car, they literally started to jack my Jeep up off the ground from behind," Maloney said.

The men said he could pay $70 to prevent being towed for loitering in the restaurant's lot.

"I went next door, got the cash. I could not have been gone more than 3 minutes. Came back and the car was gone," Maloney said.

Maloney had to get a ride to a tow lot on the 3700 block of Delganey owned by 303 Recovery and Investigations.

His $70 tow bill skyrocketed to $272 cash.

The manager spoke to 9Wants to Know by phone and says tow drivers have orders not to wait around once a tow is in progress.

"People can run around the corner and grab a friend, grab a weapon, grab a number of friends, and all of a sudden my single driver is outnumbered and his life is in danger," the manager said.

303 Recovery and Investigations has a contract with Good Times to tow unauthorized cars.

Parking is at a premium on the stretch of Colfax, which has The Fillmore Auditorium across the street and the Ogden Theatre on the next block.

Signs are clearly posted showing a 30 minute time limit. The signs also say customers cannot leave the lot.

Good Times did apologize and refund Maloney for his tow bill,

The manager for 303 Recovery and Investigations would not comment on their F rating with the Better Business Bureau showing 4 unresolved complaints this year.

The manager did say, they follow the law, and are helping businesses by keeping these spaces open for paying customers.

"We go out and try to find vehicles that are illegally parked and when the vehicles are illegally parked they get towed," the manager said.

Tow companies are regulated by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which found no laws were broken during Maloney's incident last month.

"I basically feel I was legally carjacked. The citizens of Denver are getting unfairly treated by these people with no recourse," Maloney said.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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