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Shopping Center Cracking Down on Illegal Parking

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Even a minute in a no parking zone could cost you $85 at the Legion Rd. shopping center.
FAYETTEVILLE — Tension is also running a little high in Cumberland County. A shoppingcenter 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 muchto some people until they get a big surprise. Finding your car on theback of a tow truck tends to get your attention. The J.P. Riddle Companyowns 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 couldpotentially 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 illpatient," Denning explains. "And he didn't even want to give me mymedicine bag out of the car. The only way I got my medicine bag was thatanother 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 andaccused the towing company of taking advantage of people.

Byrd says the shopping center patrons facilitate a really hostileenvironment. He says the drivers get mad and accuse the towing company ofbeing the villain.

You have to pay $85 dollars to get your car back. The towing company saysit lets the elderly and handicapped off the hook. But, when it comes topopularity, 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.

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