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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Arrested After Torching Tow Truck

Here's the story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Charles Haralson has been repossessing cars for five years. He's had people unleash their dogs on him, threaten him with baseball bats and throw rocks at his tow truck.

But, earlier this month, he had his tow truck set on fire while he was inside.

"I've never had anything that severe," Haralson, 27, of Hampton said. "By far, this is the worst that's happened."

Haralson stopped the May 12 attack by firing two gunshots in the direction of the man whose vehicle he was trying to repossess in a southeast Atlanta neighborhood. No one was hit. Minutes later, Atlanta police showed up and arrested two people.

"I didn't want to hurt nobody," Haralson said. "I didn't want to go to jail for hurting nobody. I was just out there trying to do my job."

Haralson, owner of Get Hooked Towing for the past year, said the incident shook him up so much that a friend had to drive him home. He also took the next couple of days off work.

"I couldn't get behind the wheel," Haralson said. "I have a wife and kids at home."

Schollander Billingsley, 32, and a woman who lives with him, 29-year-old Erica Glover, were arrested on charges of aggravated assault and arson, according to an Atlanta police report.

Haralson said that another repo man tried to take Billingsley's red 2000 Ford Expedition from his home on Holly Drive the previous week, but Billingsley somehow drove the Ford off the tow truck.

When Haralson showed up, Billingsley, Glover and two teenage boys surrounded his tow truck and began shaking it, he said. They cursed at him and banged on his windows, Haralson said.

Billingsley grabbed a five-gallon can of diesel fuel, poured it over the back of the truck and set fire to it, according to the police report. Inside, Haralson called 911 over and over while he sat with a .22-caliber pistol in his lap.

When Billingsley grabbed another fuel can — this one filled with gasoline — Haralson jumped out of the car and opened fire.

"I sat there as long as I could," Haralson said. "I told them if anybody came near me or my truck again, that I'd shoot them.

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