Towing policy under review

One tenant at Lake Shore Park apartments in Latham said the nightly arrival of tow trucks is like the reaper coming to collect.

Almost every morning at the complex, unsuspecting tenants wake to find their cars missing. They had been taken in the middle of the night with no warning.

They are kept in downtown Albany at Joe's Osborne Street Garage, more than nine miles away in what some tenants have deemed the mud pit.

The reasons given for the towings are varied: They were on the grass, or a "hair" over the white line separating spaces, or parked in a fire lane, which is what an employee at Joe's Osborne Street Garage told Patty Roman as he attempted to haul off her vehicle recently.

Roman is a tenant at Lake Shore Apartments and the latest of about a dozen Lake Shore residents who say they are victims of what one county legislator is calling "predatory towing."

"I had lost my shoes trying to get him to stop," said Roman, outside the apartment complex.

Roman joined other tenants Wednesday, Nov. 29, as Albany County Legislator Timothy Nichols, D-Latham, announced he would be introducing a local law to stop predatory towing.

"I was hanging on the running board of the truck on the driver's side. I was screaming for him to stop," said Roman. She said the driver eventually stopped at the Troy-Schenectady Road entrance to the apartment complex, where Colonie police responded. It was 1:30 a.m.

Roman said she begged police to arrest the tow-truck driver for stealing her car, which she contends was parked legally and not in the fire lane as the driver said. He stated he had photos. Roman said she has yet to see them.

The driver told Roman that the short tow, and her ride on the side of the truck, would cost her $180 if the vehicle were to be left at the complex entrance. She ended up forking over $50 and filed a complaint with police.

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