Towing companies are not often implicated in serious scandals. But there is a growing trend of reports in the United States and Canada, where towing companies are linked to towed cars that may be missing.
The most recent story comes out of North Carolina in the United States. In the southern state, it appears that two towing companies are being charged by the state in relation to hundreds of missing cars. These are cars that were seized by the state and towed away by those two companies. But now they are nowhere to be found!
It is common in many countries for a car to be seized due to a variety of issues. It could be due to unpaid parking tickets, someone driving repeatedly without insurance or any other reason. Some cars are just unaccounted for. The person may have left the state or country, or they may have passed away.
The state will hold onto the cars for a certain amount of time. Then it is possible to auction off the cars. In North Carolina, a recent program was using the money from sold cars to help with the state’s school system. Money that was raised from selling seized vehicles went directly to the school system in NC.
Towing Companies and the State
The issue appears to center around two towing companies that were working with the NC government. These were the companies that were tasked with picking up the cars that were being seized. The companies would tow the cars to a specific location where the government could keep them locked up.
But reports are indicating that around 234 cars that were seized by the state are nowhere to be found. And the state is putting the blame squarely on the towing company. But it is unclear how any of this could have happened.
Were the cars never taken to the agreed location when they were towed? Or were they taken by the towing companies or their employees at a later date? The two companies involved are Martin Edwards & Associates and Eastway Wrecker Service. The former company was responsible for around 221 of the cars while the other was only responsible for 13.
Cars Missing From Inventory
There are more details about specific cars within this lengthy list. For instance, there was a Mercedes SLK 350 that unusually went missing while it was under the car of the towing company.
The car was on the paperwork for the company on October 2015. But then it was gone the following month and there is no record of what happened to it after that.
Many would assume the owners of the cars just came and picked them up. But that is not how the process works. If someone wants to get a seized car, they have to go through the local police department to get approval. There would be a clear trail of paperwork. It is not possible to drive up to a towing company and ask for a seized car because you are the owner!
Massive Value Loss
According to the NC DMV, the cars that are missing were worth around $650,000. It is a remarkable sum, as most of that money would have gone to the state school system. As it stands, the schools received around $750,000 from the program. Incidentally, the two contractors that are involved in this case earned around $1.1 million through the program.