Friday, June 19, 2009

OR Towing Co. Owner Gets 13 Months for Illegal Tows

Here's the story:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Anna Alonzo learned Monday that she would be spending 13 months in prison for illegally towing cars, using the towed cars as her transportation, and other criminal charges.

Multnomah County

Alonzo, the 22-year-old owner and manager of Set Towing, was sentenced to one year, one month in jail on seven counts, including trafficking stolen vehicles, first degree theft, first degree forgery, first degree criminal mischief, possession of stolen vehicles and unauthorized use of them.

Alonzo was found guilty on May 14 of having tow trucks haul off cars that were legally parked; she then fined the owners to retrieve their property, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney's office. Background: Illegal towing

The woman was arrested in March on just one count -- unauthorized use of a vehicle -- for towing a car after she'd been told not to by the judge.

Alonzo had been out on bail and had been ordered to report any changes in address to her pre-trial supervisor, according to police. But she failed to do so, and instead gave her supervisor the address of a vacant home.

Her criminal behavior helped spur stricter regulation of tow truck drivers and operators in Oregon. The Legislature recently passed legislation to prevent tow drivers from abusing drivers.

Details: Bill puts tow drivers on hook

Commissioner Randy Leonard also took a personal interest in the Alonzo case after work he'd done recently to strengthen Portland's regulations against "predatory tow" companies.

Leonard said it’s unreasonable to create new ordinances for each case involving a predatory towing company. But he said the city will be on the lookout for illegal impounds.

“If somebody is violating the law, that doesn’t mean we have to pass another one,” Leonard said. “That means we need to enforce the current law and hold those tow truck driver or companies owners accountable.”

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