When apartment parking spaces are at a premium, managers often hire a towing company to police the property.
But state law still must be followed. And one Little Rock man strongly suspects it wasn't in his case.
When you are retired and live on a fixed income, an unexpected bill for nearly $300 dollars is a big deal.
In this case, the man who had to pay up says he can handle the unexpected. It's the undeserved that bothers him.
When Robert Rooke woke up the morning of December 2nd, his minivan was gone.
He reported it stolen and was told it had been towed by Call-A-Way wrecker service.
The cost to get it back two days later would approach $300 dollars.
"They just said they had a contract and it was parked illegally," says Rooke. "There was no other explanation. They just took it."
Rooke took a photo after getting his minivan back showing how it was parked. In a parking lot with an abundance of parking spaces, hardly a situation that warranted a tow, he says.
An out-of-state area supervisor, Marsha Bean, says the apartment complex has a contract with Call-A-Way towing.
But no contract supercedes state law, which says before a towing company can remove a vehicle from an apartment complex parking lot it must have in writing what the problem is with the vehicle, the make/model and vehicle id number, the exact location of the vehicle and the signature of the property owner or manager requesting the vehicle's removal.
In other words, a towing company can't police a parking lot and act on its ownwithout prior consent and authorization for each vehicle towed.
"It's a most disturbing situation," says Rooke. "I'm normally pretty easy to get along with."
So did Call-A-Way have written authorization to tow Mr. Rooke's minivan?
If the required document exists, so far neither the wrecker service nor the apartment complex has produced it.
Something else Call-A-Way Wrecker hasn't produced? A business license to operate in the city of Little Rock. That's because the city says Call-A-Way doesn't have one.
Air date: January 14th, 2013