Local News

Shopping Center Cracking Down on Illegal Parking

Posted November 15, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Tension is also running a little high in Cumberland County. A shopping center there has taken an aggressive approach to parking violators, and it's creating some ugly confrontations.

You're not supposed to park in a fire lane, but that doesn't mean much to some people until they get a big surprise. Finding your car on the back of a tow truck tends to get your attention. The J.P. Riddle Company owns a shopping center on Legion Road, and it means business.

A tow-away zone is just that, according to Joe Byrd of Noah's Ark Towing. He says people were parking on the sidewalks and in the aisles which could potentially cause a wreck.

Heart patient Fred Denning's car was towed after he parked in the fire lane and went into the Food Lion to see if a motorized cart was available.

"I asked the man, I said hey, don't pull my car. I'm a terminally ill patient," Denning explains. "And he didn't even want to give me my medicine bag out of the car. The only way I got my medicine bag was that another woman was there trying to get her car back."

The towing company says it tried to work with Denning in the parking lot, but gave up when he started cursing. Denning denies the accusations and accused the towing company of taking advantage of people.

Byrd says the shopping center patrons facilitate a really hostile environment. He says the drivers get mad and accuse the towing company of being the villain.

You have to pay $85 dollars to get your car back. The towing company says it lets the elderly and handicapped off the hook. But, when it comes to popularity, Noah's Ark towing is, well, treading water.

The crackdown on parking violators began last month, three weeks after warning signs went up at the shopping center.