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.”
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.