This ’05 KNBC investigation uncovered a rogue industry of pirate tow truck drivers in Southern California. A system of spotters kept watch for any driver who left the premises attached to a parking lot, and got paid $25-50 for calling in targets. In some cases, drivers were gone from their cars for less than 15 minutes.
If they wanted their car back, drivers were shaken down for $180-$250, either on the spot or at the company’s impound, payable only in cash. What’s amazing is that the stores aren’t even aware that the towing is going on.
There’s one reason to hold on to your receipt. Only with dogged persistence and showing the receipt to prove they were patronizing the business whose parking lot it were citizens able to dissuade tow truck drivers from taking their car – provided they were caught in the act.