Towing company hauled car from private property without permission, JSO investigation finds
Company also charged for services it didn’t provide according to investigators
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a letter to the owner of a Jacksonville towing company, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the company charged people for services they didn’t need, and at times, services that never happened.
Investigators said in October of last year, Thompson Enterprises admitted to towing a vehicle from an apartment complex in Jacksonville and eventually selling the car for a profit. The problem? Investigators say the towing company didn’t have a written contract to tow vehicles from the apartment complex.
JSO pointed out at least three times the company charged an additional fee to the owner of a vehicle for additional winching, but deputies pointed out no additional winching was done at the scene.
In January during a spot inspection at Thomson Enterprises, an investigator said he observed numerous vehicles that were wrapped to prevent water damage at an additional fee to the owner of the vehicle. The investigator said the parts didn’t need to be sealed for water protection.
We reached out to the Thompson Enterprises in November and again Thursday after obtaining the report. So far, we have not heard back.
JSO has a rotation of 13 towing companies it calls to haul away vehicles Thompson Enterprises won’t be one of those companies for the next 10 months.
Sheriff Mike Williams notified the company Oct. 16 it would not be included on the list until August.
According to a rate list maintained by the Sheriff’s Office, a towing company can make anywhere from $116 to $2,988 from a single traffic crash. Though towing companies can apply to join the agency’s vendor list, the rates are set by JSO.
News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Ken Jefferson said there's a demand to be included in JSO's towing rotation because it becomes an automatic source of business for companies.
“When you get on this rotation list, it comes with a set of rules and those rules are…supposed to be strictly adhered to,” Jefferson said. “Once you violate them, the Sheriff’s Office is going to come down on you and the only way to come down on you is to take you off that list.”
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