As motorists come in through the Helio's Coffee Co. parking lot, the back lot situation is confusing because there is no visible signage warning of towing from one entrance. There is a sign, but drivers would have to walk all the way around to know that it warns of permit parking only.
"There's no one taking responsibility for those cars that are left, these beer bottles and all the trash that's left or the vandalism that's been going on," said Sharon Holt, officer manager of a state office that is leasing the lot.
Holt called for towing because of the late night trouble.
As for the sign, Holt says, "..when it was put down it was facing towards that Dumpster. It was not turned. Someone keeps turning it."
Raleigh's mayor says the sign should be displayed properly.
"If a sign was moved, it's still the landowner's obligation to be sure that each night, if there's going to be towing, the correct signs are in the correct places," said Mayor Charles Meeker.
Frustrated by the ongoing towing battle, Meeker called out a police officer to survey the signs.
"The property is privately owned and the council has not banned towing," Meeker said. "So, this kind of predatory towing can occur. What would make sense would be for that lot to be available to the public for a small charge, if it's not going to be used at night otherwise."
To make matters worse for drivers who park in the lot, a sign in a parking lot says call Hollywood Towing, yet a truck spotted taking a car away reads Alston's.
"...it's almost like they are waiting for their prey to park, then boom -- they're out of there," said Dina Jirjis, restaurant manager for Helio's, which borders the towing target lot. "It's going to make worse for customers wherever they're going."
Because of the vandalism, so far the state office that leases the building refuses to rent out parking spaces.
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