Coincidence or not, the city took notice after a slew of irate calls and forced Mirmelli to install new signs at his Lenox lot. "We had a rash of folks coming in [to complain]," Miami Beach Parking Director Saul Frances says. But Frances claims there's not much else he can do. "It's a free-enterprise issue," he says.


Tow Truck Drivers Accused of Stealing Cars

Sometimes, drivers for Beach and Tre­mont hook cars that are never returned to their owners. Drivers for both companies have been accused of sneaking into condo buildings, trolling for cars with out-of-town owners, and then rolling off with the wheels.

Pat Kinsella
Pat Kinsella

Location Info

Map

Tremont Towing

1861 Bay Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Retail

Region: South Beach

Beach Towing

1349 Dade Blvd.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Retail

Region: South Beach

Consider the case of Fu Tian, a Los Angeles businessman who sued Beach Towing in June for allegedly jacking his 2006 Mercedes GL 450 from the Grand Condominium.

Tian says that on September 30, 2011, surveillance video captured a heavyset African-American man behind the wheel of a Tremont truck entering Grand's garage around a quarter to one in the morning. A hefty Hispanic male was in the passenger seat. A few minutes later, the cameras caught the same truck exiting the garage towing a 1998 blue Porsche Carrera 911, according to a City of Miami Police report.

Then, at 1:07 a.m., the Tremont truck returned and took away a 1998 white BMW Z3. An hour later, the truck came back once more, hitching Tian's burgundy Benz. It wasn't until 14 days later that the condominium's security manager realized the truck had removed all three luxury rides without authorization.

Miami detectives confirmed that no one from the condo had called Tremont and that the driver indeed worked for Tremont. A manager told the cops that the driver, whose name is not listed in the documents, had been flagged down by the Hispanic male, who claimed to be a repo man seeking help to "secure the vehicles."

To date, no one has been arrested, and the cars have not been recovered. Tian has sued the Grand Condominium and its valet parking contractor for negligence, as well as Tremont for negligent hiring and retention.

It's not the first time either tow company has been sued over similar allegations.

In 2002, Agustus Sanchez took Tremont to court over claims the company auctioned his Harley-Davidson motorcycle while he was trying to retrieve it. Though Sanchez spoke directly with Tremont's then-owner, Edwin "Tony" Gonzalez, about paying the required impound and storage fees, the bike was sold at public auction December 11, 2001, for about $20,000. Tremont settled with Sanchez in 2005 for $65,000, the Harley's estimated value.

A year later, part-time Miami Beach resident Tal Priel sued Beach Towing for civil theft of his vintage 1975 gold two-door Buick LeSabre from his rented spot inside the parking garage at 555 Washington Ave. When he returned after a seven-month stint in New York City, Priel learned that Beach had towed his car and sold it to then-employee Alberto Castellanos for $1,481.72. Priel sued, claiming Beach intentionally sent certified letters to the wrong address so it could put a lien on the Buick to sell it. At the time, Priel told New Times, "I was devastated." (Beach later settled for an undisclosed amount.)

Tian's lawyer, Andreas Kelly, expects a similar outcome in his case. "A tow truck company that employs dishonest people can do a lot of damage," Kelly says. "I have never seen a tow truck company that does something this blatant."

Through their lobbyist, Andrade, Beach and Tremont officials declined to comment on the lawsuits.


Wasting Miami Beach Police Time

Miami Beach officers must know the Beach and Tremont tow yards like their own backyards, because they probably spend more time dealing with outraged car owners and petty crime there than they do grilling on their patios.

In July, blogger Bill Cooke reported on his Random Pixels site that police fielded 768 calls from Beach and Tremont's tow yards in the previous year. "Many of the calls are for disturbances that cover everything from a customer arguing loudly to a fistfight," Cooke says. "In those cases, police dispatchers are required to dispatch two units for officer safety. Multiply that by 768 times, year in and year out, and you start to see the tremendous drain on resources these two companies create annually."

And who pays for it? "The taxpayer," Cooke notes. "Definitely not the towing companies."

New Times analyzed 81 incident reports filed between June 2012 and June of this year. The documents show that Beach and Tremont call the cops for everything from petty vandalism to people taking off in their cars without paying.

For instance, Tremont rang the boys in blue on June 16, 2012, when a man named Ramzi Zaghloug sneaked through the iron gate into their yard around 5:30 p.m. Tremont employee Victor Juarbe watched the bald, 34-year-old Jordan native get into his red 2012 BMW 328i and drive off the lot. Instantly, Juarbe called the MBPD, reporting Zaghloug owed a $210 tow fee. The cops spotted him entering a condo on Ocean Drive. When an officer approached, Zaghloug said, "They towed my car wrong, and I went and got it back." The cop took him back to Tremont, where Zaghloug was charged with felony theft — of his own car.

Two months later, Beach Towing manager Jorge Rodriguez called police to report 32-year-old North Miami Beach resident Justin Michael Weaver after cameras caught him forcing open the yard's gate, getting into his green 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier, and driving off. Weaver owed $1,163 in parking fines and towing charges. Miami Beach cops started a fruitless search.

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My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
davcar2009
davcar2009

I lived their in 2001-2002 it wasn't that bad.. I returned in 2011 what a nightmare Parking was .. It 's not just the Tow companies... Miami Dade Parking are total Scum.. Their Policy is $$$..Fuck the TOURIST I will never set foot in South Beach again. Go some where else is my Advice...

FredF
FredF

simple, boycott businesses  that tows


See a towing sign, don't shop there.  ever. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

FOXY BROWN and RED COW are both connected to ALL COUNTY TOWING who is a vendor in BOTH parking lots for those restaurants - so be warned YOU may be subject to unnecessary RISK of exposure to possible PREDITORY TOWING

ASK MANAGEMENT of these establishments how many of their patrons cars were TOWED and under what circumstances BEFORE you go

being overserved and doing the smart thing of taking a cab home leaving YOUR CAR in those lots and you may find your car in the ALL COUNTY TOWING yard nearby the next day - DO NOT EXPECT restaurant management to advise you of this as they may be compensated for both the cab fare and towing charge AT YOUR EXPENSE

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

AMERICAN SOCIAL - YOYO

RED COW - YOYO = WARNING the LOT is monitored by a PREDITORY TOWING operator as defined by CITY OF SUNRISE (ALL COUNTY TOWING) meaning they have many many complaints against them and were responsible for many aggresive towing tactics including BLACK FRIDAY whereby 200 plus cars were towed in a planned operation from the Sawgrass Mills Mall

TAP 42 - VPPA free #65

IL MULINO - VPPA free #50

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

another promotion from AMERICAN SOCIAL which offers PAID PARKING at $10 an hour and UP and NO they do not validate parking so again be aware of the additional cost in your BUDGET to include PARKING (and another reason to maybe go to TAP42 which has an entire parking lot of FREE PARKING !)

see how easy this can be !

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

here for example is RED COW RESTAURANT review with NO MENTION of parking and WHO does the TOWING in their LOT (while directly across the street IL MULINO has ample free parking available !)

RED COW RESTAURANT is just a few miles from the tow yard of ALL COUNTY TOWING

i would suspect this promotion to be really a DEAL to include a $251 towing charge

why should i risk being towed by ALL COUNTY TOWING a publicly identified PREDITORY towing operation here in broward with dozens of complaints in that area when i can PARK RISK FREE elsewhere

SEE HOW EASY it is to infor the PUBLIC

likewise the public SHOULD KNOW who does the towing where they park - IF IT IS ALL COUNTY TOWING chnaces are good you are being spotted as you ARRIVE and will be towed

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

so here is what NT can do for it's readers - EVERY promotion in NT should include detailed information about WHERE TO PARK when going to the EVENT / RESTAURANT / BAR etc ................this way those VENDORs that HAVE PARKING available for thier patron CAN BE REWARDED = period

YOYO = means (Y)ou're (O)n (Y)our (O)wn........and probably will be either TOWED or GOUGED a fee for parking

VPPA free #100 = means (V)endor (P)rovided (P)arking (A)vailable for free with 100 spots

VPPA $$$ #50 = means (V)endor (P)rovided (P)arking (A)vailable for $30 ($ for each $10) with 50 spots

NOGO = means the entire promotion is intended to LURE unsuspecting drivers to park in that open lot across the street that looks to be PUBLIC but is really the reason for the promotion in the first place so budget the extra $241 for the tow and another $58 for the cab ride to the towing yard

EDUCATE YOUR READERs to AVOID THESE SCAMs including CITING those restaurants and bars that HAVE NO AVAILABLE parking ! ! !

the BEST DEFENSE is to EDUCATE US ! ! !

Rich Stroes
Rich Stroes

Yup.. major scumbags.. as is the city that endorse them...drivers are thugs ala Dirty Blondes bouncers. . Simple though...Just ignore So Be..

Brian Bartlett
Brian Bartlett

Easy solution, Forget the fakeness Sobe, just don't go because beers are $15, rum drinks are $20 and every a$$ monkey and gold digger on the planet revolves around SOBE.

George Nemeth
George Nemeth

jennifer lopez is a washed-up mtv slut who represents this tv b.s. Boycott her songs then download them for free. Fat ass!

Tim Kling
Tim Kling

The valet company was a third party company that runs multiple hotels on the strip. The owners were extremely hard to get a hold of and refused to pay for repairs as well. They said that we were parking at our own risk and that as a courtesy the only way that they would fix the car was if I used their specific shop that they have a racket with. Rather than be inconvenienced by leaving my car in Miami for repairs for who knows how long (I live in Broward), we bent the hood down so that it would latch again and I am just living with the damage. As for the LR Disco, I don't know the outcome - lost touch.

Tim Kling
Tim Kling

I did not know that Tremont now has the same owners as the Shelbourne. I valet'ed my Honda Element and my friend's Land Rover Discovery last year at the Shelbourne and BOTH cars came back with appalling damage. The honda's hood was crushed as if it ran into a gate as it was closing and the Discovery's roof rack was ripped off. After multiple phone calls, they refused to pay for repairs.

Sam Smith
Sam Smith

This is crazy!! You gotta love a city that puts up no parking signs and then tows the cars that were legally parked and sends that biz to these horrible companies. I hardly ever go to So. Beach because of these type of behavior. The business in this city that work to attract people should be up in arms.

 
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