Illegal towing service gets the boot at Blockbuster

Now online! 362 vehicles towed by Lone Star Auto Services since December 2006 - click here

If there is anything BD loves to hear, it's the sound of a towing truck pulling the car of some smart-ass bar patron off a parking lot he should not have parked his car on in the first place.

But this weekend, that sound will be a little different. It's a sound that only a BarkingDog can hear. But read on and you will hear the change in pitch too.

After BD raised questions about the behavior and ethics Lone Star Auto Services on the Blockbuster parking lot, the property owner has ordered Lone Star to cease all towing services immediately and remove their signs before the weekend.

Why are we not surprised to find out that Lone Star did not have a legal contract to tow vehicles off the parking lot?

BD started asking questions a few weeks ago, after a Lone Star marketing manager (who acted as their spotter for St. Patrick's Day), called BD (in his role as the BelmontNA VP). They wanted to take him to lunch and talk about how they can tow cars blocking residential driveways on public streets in the neighborhood.

Ever wary of a snake-oil scam, BD called the City's PWT folks, who manage towing permits, and asked them how this was possible without using a helicopter to lift the cars.

They confirmed what we knew - The only person authorized to tow cars off public streets are DPD officers, who call towing services contracted to the City (and using flatbed trucks). End of story.

BD never got that free lunch, because he started asking questions that Lone Star did not want to answer.

The big question of the day: Are they towing cars off the Blockbuster parking lot legally??

Why is that such a big deal? Because no matter whom BD spoke to at Blockbuster, Whole Foods or the property owner, everybody kept pointing at the other guy and saying, They signed the contract, didn't they??

Whole Foods has no authority for the Blockbuster side of the parking lot, but they do tow vehicles (using another service) that block their produce dock on the weekends.

Blockbuster's manager said they never signed a contract because they have no authority over the parking lot (that's why drug deals flourished on this parking let several years ago - the manager never saw a damn thing).

The property owner's reps said they never had a contract with any towing service. Keep in mind, Lone Star has been towing cars from this parking lot for nearly three years. And nobody had a contract???

BD contacted Lone Star and asked for a copy of their contract for towing cars off the Blockbuster lot. They told him go to hell, he ain't getting it.

BD then called the City's PWT folks with his information. They started asking Lone Star questions about the towing contract. Only this time, Lone Star had to listen, since under City Code, they are required to produce for the City a copy of any contract for towing services at any Dallas property.

Sources tell BD that Lone Star stalled the City's request and instead went to the Blockbuster manager, trying to strong-arm her into signing a contract. Instead of signing, she called the owner's property manager. The property manager told the Lone Star rep that they were not going to get a contract, that she would send a certified letter to them stating this, and that their signs had to be off the property by this weekend.

Capiche?

As of this writing, we don't know if another towing service has been contracted for this weekend, but the Lone Star signs are still there.

This is gonna be so much fun to watch.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Lower Greenville