Something I haven't written about yet is when I must tow a vehicle away. Not just cars either. I've towed thirty-foot motor homes, trailers (some with boats on them), motorcycles, semi trucks, 60's vans, even a scooter once (!). With a little kid still on it! No, no just kidding there. He went into the ice cream shop and while he wasn't looking....again, just kidding. I can't help myself, you know.
Anyway, there are only a few reasons why a vehicle might get towed away (almost sounds like it's never coming back - and I wish some of them wouldn't!). The most common is that the vehicle's registration has lapsed. If it's six months out of date, we can impound it. We can't crush it into a cube, but honestly, sometimes we'd like to. If it's been stored on the street in the same place for more than seventy-two hours, we can take it. Now look, we are on to all the tricks. If you move it across the street or roll it forward or backward, this does not constitute "moving the vehicle." Yes, technically it has "moved" but don't be a wiseguy. We left you that little red tag for a reason: so you'd read it and learn the law. Too bad if you didn't.
There are other reasons to tow as well. A common one is a street sign that says in effect, If You Park Here We Will Tow Your Car Away. I wish it said that in reality and not just in effect because people will park there anyway and completely ignore the sign that simply says Tow-Away Zone No Parking Any Time. It's amazing how many of those kinds of tows we get, whether they are the temporary type signs put up because of a parade, street repair or some other street work that needs a-doin', or the regular old street signs on poles. You know, the ones people routinely ignore anyway.
There are also the cars that are simply abandoned. There are cars that are missing parts (like engines) that may be hazards and can be towed for that reason (I wish you could tow away some people who are hazards but, sadly, we're not there yet). And there are cars that are parked illegally, like in a red zone for instance, that have no proof of registration - no plates, no VIN. Why anyone would do that is a complete mystery. Maybe they hate the car and are trying to get rid of it or maybe it's just a bad case of the Stupid Flu.
Then there are those vehicles we find that have more than five unpaid parking tickets in our computer system. We call those "keepers." Oooh, what fun. I enjoy running the paperwork back at the station and seeing exactly how much the person owes. Sometimes it's been more than $1,000. Can you imagine? I would start a keeper "pool" and take bets on how much the person owes and whoever is closest gets the money. But I can't do that. The police wouldn't like it. Gambling on duty and all. Bummer.
One quick story: a few weeks ago I impounded a young woman's SUV which I found out really belonged to her father back in the Midwest. I was furious at the old man. What the heck was he doing letting his daughter drive out west in a car that wasn't registered? For over a year! The plate was even listed in the system as "destroyed." Destroyed? I saw it right there - on the car! Shame on the old guy. I'd like to send him a nasty note. Maybe with some dog poop in it. But the police wouldn't like it. Harassing the citizens and all. Bummer.