Police: Some vehicle tows not authorized

Some vehicle tows were not authorized by the city of Pelham on Jan. 30, according to Pelham police. (File)

Some vehicle tows were not authorized by the city of Pelham on Jan. 30, according to Pelham police. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Wrecker companies are only towing vehicles “truly blocking travel lanes” and vehicles whose owners Pelham police are unable to contact, and city leaders are warning of possibly fraudulent early morning tows on Jan. 30.

Pelham Deputy Police Chief Larry Palmer said a wrecker company began towing cars abandoned during the Jan. 28-29 ice storm on Jan. 30 without the city’s authorization.

Those who had cars towed on Jan. 30 – especially in northern Pelham – should call the Pelham Police Department at 620-6550, the Hoover Police Department at 444-7700 or Acton Towing at 390-6596 to ensure the tows were authorized by the city.

“If they were not authorized by us, let us know,” Palmer said during a Jan. 30 interview. “We only towed those necessary to get the lanes open on 11, 52 and 261. For the whole city, we (authorized towing for) less than 30 vehicles.”

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said those towed without the city’s authorization will not be charged for the tows.

Beginning at noon on Jan. 30, Pelham began working with local wrecker companies to tow vehicles blocking travel lanes, and attempted to contact the owners of all abandoned vehicles in the city.

“They use the car tags to look up the owners, and then try to contact them,” Waters said. “We are only towing cars that are in the way and the ones whose owners we can’t get in contact with.”

Waters said city crews and wreckers were able to clear a path down Shelby County 52 without towing any vehicles, and said several were winched out of ditches free of charge.

“There were 26 cars we moved on Highway 52, and not a single one was towed,” Waters said.