Newark – Newark Halloween Parade attendees learned an expensive lesson over the weekend.
Some folks that attended the parade on Sunday had their vehicles towed from the South Chapel Street Burger King parking lot and aren’t very happy about it.
Newark resident, Joe Davis, is one of those that had his car taken to the Ewing Towing yard on Elkton Road, while he enjoyed the annual Halloween Parade. Frustrated, Davis reached out to First State Update to share his story.
Davis doesn’t understand why a paying customer would get towed, especially during a parade. He said he believed that because he was a paying customer he was okay to park in the lot. “We weren’t aware that we could be towed… I believe we were very good customers”, said Davis.
Davis and his family had just dropped off their 14-year-old son, who was in the parade in one of the marching bands, when he decided to grab a bite at the restaurant before watching the parade.
That decision would cost him approximately $110.00 after fees and food. Once he made his purchase at Burger King, Davis, along with his wife and 5-month-old daughter made their way over to Main Street to see their son perform in the parade.
As Davis and his family were making their way to Main Street, another frustrated attendee, Lori Conner, whose son was also in the parade, was also grabbing a meal before the festivities began. Like Davis, Conner walked over to Main Street to grab a spot to watch the parade.
It wasn’t until a couple hours later that they both realized their fun day at the parade would cost them a bundle of cash.
When Davis and his family returned from the parade, they saw two tow trucks in the parking lot. “My car had already been towed and my mother-in-law’s car was in the process of being towed”, said Davis. Connor described a similar experience when she returned.
Originally, both Davis and Conner had no idea that once they left the parking lot their customer status would automatically be revoked, giving a tow truck driver the right to remove their vehicles.
The parking lot does have several signs posted in the lot that appear to meet current city code. The “Customer Parking Only” signs are large and easy to read while the signs that explain “If you leave this parking lot without your vehicle, the vehicle is subject to immediate removal at the vehicle owner’s expense.” use smaller print, making them more difficult to read from a distance. Davis and Conner both said they did not see the signs.
After talking to the tow truck driver and paying him to release his mother-in-law’s vehicle, Davis made his way to Ewing towing on Elkton road to be reunited with his vehicle. He had to leave his family at the Burger King because the car seat for his infant was towed with the car. After an hour of parade traffic and some paperwork, Davis returned to Burger King for his family.
Conner said that while she was trying to figure out how to get to the tow yard, a woman who almost had her car towed offered her and several other people a ride to the Elkton road location.
In a telephone call to the restaurant this morning, the manager said that there are signs posted in the lot and cars are only towed after the tow truck driver questions the guests inside the restaurant. Guests are asked by the driver to describe their vehicles while they’re dining in. If the tow truck driver can’t find the driver of a vehicle it gets towed, according to the manager. When asked if it would be okay for a customer to grab a burger and then walk across the street do business at another establishment, he said no.
Davis and Conner both said that when they were picking up their vehicles there were several other people that had been towed from the Burger King parking lot picking up their vehicles. Newark Police Spokesman Sgt. Gerald J. Bryda said that between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm, the hours surrounding the parade, one private property owner had 11 vehicles towed but did not say if that property owner was the Burger King.
In the end Davis and Conner each had to shell out $102.00 to get their vehicles back. That’s on top of what they money the spent to purchase their food. Davis’ mother-in-law was charged $46 by the tow operator at the lot. It’s unclear if the mother-in-law’s vehicle was included in the number provided by Sgt. Bryda.