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Fullerton Gives Towing Rules Initial OK

February 11, 1996|MIMI KO CRUZ

FULLERTON — An ordinance that would regulate the towing of vehicles from private property has won preliminary approval.

Police Chief Patrick E. McKinley said his department has been investigating complaints of illegal and unauthorized towing operations and has discovered more than 100 violations, some of which are criminal.

McKinley said some towing companies are illegally impounding vehicles, charging exorbitant amounts of money to release the cars to their owners, taking the automobiles to "the wrong places" and not notifying police. The existing ordinance, he said, is "archaic."

The new law, which the City Council approved on a first reading Tuesday, would require towing companies to have city business permits, keep records of all tows, notify police before and after towing a vehicle and display "private property impound" rules.

In addition, the ordinance would not allow vehicles to be towed from private property that did not display a sign with the words "private property" in red ink on a white background.

A "no parking" warning, including a Police Department phone number and towing code, would also be required.

"This ordinance lets us know who is towing in our city and makes sure they're not ripping people off," Lt. Al Burks said.

The council will consider the new law for final approval later this month.

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