Wilmington City Solicitor Robert Goff has issued a cease and desist order against a local towing company for unlawfully towing at least three vehicles from public streets in January.
The city’s letter to National Auto Movers, LLC, located at 1000 South Market Street, informs the company that only law enforcement officers and city officials have the authority to remove a vehicle from a public street or property in Wilmington.
The city contracts with a separate towing company to tow vehicles that violate parking laws, are abandoned or are part of a City police investigation. The city also ordered National Auto Movers to refund all towing fees paid by vehicle owners who were improperly towed and to release any vehicles in the company’s possession to their owners without charge.
According to a release, the city received an initial report in mid-January from a vehicle owner who said her vehicle was towed by National Auto Movers from the street in front of the Queen Theatre at 5th and Market Streets.
WDEL then reported a second vehicle was improperly towed from the street in front of the Residence Inn by Marriot in the 1300 block of Market Street.
The City later learned through its Public Works Call Center (302.576.3878) that another owner’s vehicle was also towed in January from the street in front of the Residence Inn. The Queen and Residence Inn have also been informed that no business in the City may hire a towing company to tow a vehicle from public property.
Mayor Mike Purzycki said that each vehicle owner was charged at least a few hundred dollars to retrieve their vehicle, which the city will assist them in recovering from the company.
“Whether this improper towing occurred through ignorance of the law, negligence, or was intentional, it will stop now or the city will take further legal action,” said Purzycki who added that the towing company should also apologize to the vehicle owners for the inconvenience that was caused by its actions.
Vehicle owners who have information to support the fact that their vehicle was towed by National Auto Movers from a public street are asked to contact the City’s Public Works Call Center at 302.576.3878.Any moving company that has a question about towing a vehicle, or is unsure about whether to tow, should call the Wilmington Police Department non-emergency telephone line at 302.654.5151.