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Girl Scout Leaders Get the Boot

Several Tarrytown women apparently called the police when their cars were booted in the Tarrytown Centre lot on Thursday night and they felt they were mistreated.

Michelle Reist, a Daisy Troop leader for her kindergartner daughter’s troop at John Paulding School, was among several troop leaders who say they suffered the booted punishment of Alex Towing on Wednesday night.

Six women went to a troop leaders meeting at Tarrytown's Community Opportunity Center that night and parked in the nearly empty Walgreens lot since the COC has no lot of its own.

When the women returned to their cars several hours later they found they had all been booted by Alex Towing, who maintains a private contract with the Tarrytown Centre lot.

Tarrytown Police Lieutenant William Herguth said this is a civil matter, and if police were called, there was no record of the incident recorded in the blotters.

Reist said the women did call the police when the towing company worker, apparently waiting for them to return to their cars, demanded they pay $70 on the spot to get their boots removed. Several of the women were able to pay immediately and go home; three women however said they needed to go the Chase ATM nearby to get cash.

While they were gone momentarily, Reist reported the man took off; she believed he did so because he knew the police were coming. However police informed the woman that this was a private property matter.

It was a freezing night, and the women left behind with boots said they were afraid to leave their cars and risk getting towed, so they waited for over an hour until the man came back to collect the rest of his money.

“I couldn’t get a hold of anyone except the Alex Towing dispatcher,” said Reist’s husband Michael. “It seems like a shady operation. These are Tarrytown residents offering their time as volunteers.”

Someone from Alex Towing, based in Elmsford, who answered the phone on Friday but wouldn’t leave his name, said collecting $70 on the spot was standard procedure against “people parking there illegally, yes.”

As far as the worker leaving the women stranded for an extended period of time, the employee said, “if that was the case they could have sat in their car with the heat on, so that’s no excuse.”

The representative from the towing company said his company is contracted by the owners of the property who “don’t want anyone in their lot. If the women were told they could park there, they were misled.”

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Do you think a $70 unbooting fee is harsh? Has something similar happened to you in Tarrytown or Sleepy Hollow? Tell us in the comments.

DeeplyConcernedabout T-town January 07, 2013 at 01:07 PM
I guess the posted signs informing that they would be booted or towed doesn't mean anything. It is nothing to do with volunteers, but illegal parking, even if the lot is empty. If the COC doesn't have parking, prehaps they should make arrangements to assist the volunteers.The parking by the volunteers is not a one time event.
Aintthatascam January 07, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I'd put more emphasis on why there was no Police Blotter entry for the call from the women. I was under the impression that any (minor) complaints had to be entered. Also, I thought the Private Property law doesn't apply when there is more than one entrance / exit to the property. in this case there are three. Just wondering. That's a crappy way of making money. I could understand if they parked there for like 4 or 5 hours, but driving around that parking lot in circles, waiting to catch someone?
Krista Madsen (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 02:11 PM
There might be a blotter entry that Lieut. just missed; I haven't seen the reports yet myself.
Krista Madsen (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 02:12 PM
That's interesting about multiple exits/private property law; I'll look into that as well.
Heron January 07, 2013 at 02:58 PM
This has been an issue in Tarrytown for a number of years. We were told that the village, when Patrick Pilla was mayor, considered buying (or taking over?) the CVS parking lot but decided against it. I don't know what was behind that decision. The Music Hall was at one point making announcements about not parking in the CVS lot because people were parking there during shows and getting towed away. These lots are owned privately and the owners don't want people parking there that aren't patronizing the businesses connected with the lots.
Alex Chambers January 07, 2013 at 05:01 PM
My one question would be how long can a patron park in these lots with out getting a boot (or towed) put on their care. It seems like if I go to McDonald's or the new Osaka, I may have a boot put on my care, even through I am a patron.
Collin Albertsson January 07, 2013 at 05:06 PM
I was one of the Girl Scout Daisy moms that got the boot. Illegally parking was not the issue for me (although we truthfully did not know that we were parked illegally. My friend and I had never been to that shopping center at night and from where we parked you cannot see any "Do not park" signs.) My issue is how horrible Alex Towing and their thug representative was. First off, they set a trap. As soon as the women and I got to our cars the thug was there waiting for us in a junky pick up truck and demanded $70 cash. My friend had the cash and the thug took the boot off. The other women told the thug they were running into Walgreens to get cash and to please wait. He agreed. Then he received a phone call and began grilling my friend and I if either of us had called his dispatcher which we hadn't. He then gets in his truck and races out of the parking lot. He knew those women were getting cash and he left them there in 20 degree weather after 9pm. That's disgusting behavior in my opinion. The fact they had to wait another hour for the thug to return is despicable.
Collin Albertsson January 07, 2013 at 05:08 PM
The Girl Scout leaders had all been at Dunkin Donuts prior to our meeting at the COC. The Alex Towing guy said it didn't matter.
Steph January 07, 2013 at 05:13 PM
A similar incident occurred with a guest of mine and Alex's Towing a few years ago. There was absolutely no parking anywhere near our home because of a show going on at The Music Hall so they parked at the bottom of the CVS parking lot along with a dozen other cars. Granted I realize that the parking lot is for CVS, Pay Half, etc but they were there less than the 2 hour time limit and were booted yet none of the other cars were (probably because my guest was the only car with out of state plates). We called Alex's towing (since a giant sticker was placed on the windshield) and the dispatcher said someone would be there soon to remove the boot. 2 1/2 hours later and $168 later, the boot was removed. The driver kept saying that the car was booted for because they don't allow overnight parking. Yet this was at 11pm and the person was trying to leave to go home.
Amie Getis January 07, 2013 at 05:17 PM
The Volunteer Center, also located in Tarrytown, is sorry to hear that this happened to volunteers who attended a meeting at the Community Opportunity Center. Our recommendation for anyone who volunteers is to ask in advance if parking is available and its cost whenever they visit an agency/organization/volunteer site. This is a good reminder for our partner agencies to keep their volunteers apprised of the best place for their automobiles. For anyone who wishes to visit The Volunteer Center, please know that parking is plentiful and free at the Talleyrand Office Park on Route 119.
joy January 07, 2013 at 05:38 PM
I am sorry that it happened but I agree with you. Someone pays for this lot and they have rights. Still, it seemes like perhaps the towing company could have handled it in a more professional manner (which I say based only on the info above - I am sure there is another side to the story.)
joy January 07, 2013 at 05:39 PM
I agree with you on this!
Pete Pablo January 07, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Not sure why police didn't get involved because if its a private property matter , why do they enforce the handicap, fire lanes parking etc... I guess it's private when they want it to be. It's a public lot that police enforce when they want but on the other hand the ladies did not have the right to leave their cars there if signs are posted.
Krista Madsen (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Another leader added in an email to me: At least 10 Girl Scout Leaders, or parent volunteers, and two girls, went and made purchases at Dunkin' Donuts before the COC opened. And after a meeting, you often can find some of us (even ones who park on the street) doing our shopping at Walgreen's.
Linda January 07, 2013 at 07:31 PM
How does Alex Towing know if you are parking there illegally or if you are in fact in Walgreens or McDonalds or now Osaka? I accept that the parking lots are private here and at CVS and a portion of the YMCA lot (Alex Towing boots there too!)...however...how does Alex Towing determine who is parked illegally.. McDonalds and Walgreens are both open 24 hrs.
Steph January 07, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I'd like to know that too Linda. How do they know where the owner of the car is?
Aintthatascam January 08, 2013 at 02:08 PM
The "representatives" of Alex's towing are sitting in the parking lot, watching , waiting. As soon as they see a person step off that property, a quick response with boot takes effect. One is better off parking at the metered spots on the west side of that lot, I think after hours they are not enforced.

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