On April 4, 2013, I arrived at the Barnsdall Square Shopping Plaza at 11:00 am in front of Fallas y Paredes. I am legally disabled; therefore I am authorized to park at a designated parking space without any time limit. I parked on this property in a marked handicapped space. My car was properly parked and my handicap placard was properly placed. I took care of my personal business and then went back to where my car was parked; only to find out it was missing.
A young man in plain clothes came up to me and notified me that the car was towed way, he gave me an informational flyer for the tow company that took my car. Since he was not in uniform and was not wearing a badge, this young man did not identify himself as a security guard. He told me that his boss called the tow company and had my car towed away illegally.
As I was trying to figure out how I was going to get my car back, the "security guard" called the tow truck company to take another car. I then confronted the tow truck driver and asked him why he took my car. He replied "The security guard called us and pointed out your car, so we towed it, no matter what." I told the truck driver that the car was properly parked and the handicap placard was properly placed and that there was no reason for them to take it. He was very rude and almost ran my feet over with the car because he did not want to give a proper explanation.
I have a family member who is a police detective and asked him for advice on the situation. He told me to pay the impound fee to get my car back, go back to the Shopping Plaza and get information on who signed for the towing. He also advised me to take pictures of the facility, and get the name and information of the security guard who did not identify himself. I followed his advice and went to Metro Towing Inc., paid the towing fees and pulled out my car. I then proceeded back to Barnsdall Square Shopping Plaza to speak with the security officer.
When I went back to the shopping plaza to speak with the security guard denied that he was the same security officer that gave me the tow truck info. I told him that I identified him as the same guard that I spoke with earlier, and he replied that it wasn't him, due to the fact that he supposedly just clocked in on duty. Therefore, he indicated that he was not on duty and unauthorized to conduct any security business during the first encounter. He was also very rude and uncooperative. When I asked for his information, he declined to give it to me.
He said he did not have any identification, I asked him how was it that he was working without any identification and I had to ask him for his name, as he did not have a badge or name tag. He finally gave me his name and license number. I saw him with a clip board when I first parked there, after I asked him for his information I asked to see the clip board he did not want to show it to me, I told him that by law he had to show it to me, and that I had the right to see it, he finally gave it to me so that I can see it I also took a picture of the information.
He had over 20 cars on that list that had been towed away from the property, I told him what they were doing is extortion and was illegal. I also asked for his supervisor and his info, and he replied that his supervisor was off duty, and had already clocked out for the day. I asked to speak with the property manager of the shopping plaza, and he said that his name was Paul. He also instructed me to go to the property leasing office and ask for Paul.
I went to the office and spoke with the secretary, who said that Paul was unavailable. She asked what was wrong, and I told her the situation. She very rudely told me that I was parked over an hour in that spot, and that I was at fault. I explained to her that my car was towed away illegally. As a disabled person, I am authorized to park at a parking space without a time limit. She said that it did not matter in this situation, and there was no point to pursuing any legal action. She then very rudely told me to leave the office. She did not bother to make an incident report nor did the security officer. At this point, I saw that there wasn't anything else that I could do here, so I left to return home and research what other action I could take.
I truly think what they are doing is a scam and is illegal. I talked to various customers at the shopping plaza, and they all said that they are afraid to shop there because they tow cars away for no reason. During the time period that I was there, they towed away more cars. I had my parents with me that day, and my poor mother had to miss a day from work because of this inconvenience.