Tow company in viral video was recently banned from doing business with SF, city attorney says

The viral video shows a tow truck trying to drag a moving vehicle with people inside.

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Friday, April 12, 2024
Tow company in viral video was banned from doing business with SF
Specialty Towing company seen in viral video was recently banned from doing business with San Francisco, according to the city attorney.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Police are investigating why a tow truck tried to nab a moving vehicle in San Francisco with people inside.

On Thursday, we're learning new details about the towing company.

It was a terrifying experience that Joanne and her husband are still processing.

"We were freaking out calling and basically rolling down our window and saying, 'Hey what you are doing? You can't be doing that,'" said Joanne.

EXCLUSIVE: Couple shocked after tow truck tries to nab their moving car in SF

An East Bay couple is detailing the terrifying turn of events when a tow truck tried to tow them while driving through downtown San Francisco.

A yellow tow truck began to back up and tried to hook their vehicle. Joanne said they were waiting at a red light in San Francisco.

"He started backing up and his lever came down and basically he was just backing up trying to latch onto our car," said Joanne.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu confirmed the towing company "Specialty Towing" is known to their office for violating state laws prior to this incident.

"This company appears to be the same towing company that my office previously moved to suspend and debar from receiving city contracts," said Chiu.

After viewing the video, Chiu said the latest incident is illegal.

"It could likely be violating a number of laws - potentially criminal laws," said Chiu. "The fact that we have seen yet another way in which this company is violating the law - unfortunately it's not surprising, but the video is shocking nonetheless."

Prior to this incident, the city received complaints from multiple victims who were allegedly scammed by Specialty Towing.

MORE: New San Francisco program will text you if your car is about to be towed

The city proceeded to block Specialty Towing and two other towing companies under the same ownership from working with the city on enforcing parking laws.

"Specialty Towing is an affiliated company with a company called Auto Towing. They are all essentially part of the same operation. Auto Towing had illegally been towing cars off a private lot without the permission of the property owner. On top of that, they were strictly limiting the hours during which cars could be picked up and pressuring the owners to pay in cash," said Chiu.

ABC7 News called Specialty Towing's phone number that appeared on one of the trucks and the operator hung up on us. We showed up at Auto Towing in the Bayview, searching for answers.

On the phone, we were told Auto Towing is no longer in business and the person on the phone said they were not connected to Specialty Towing.

SFPD is now urging other victims to come forward.

"It is insane. We do ask the victims if they have encountered something like this to contact the police department immediately," said officer Paulina Henderson with SFPD.

The city attorney said Specialty Towing allegedly also defrauded San Francisco taxpayers to receive welfare benefits.

In this case, it's still unclear why the couple was targeted. The couple said they filed a police report and confirmed the car is paid off as well as the registration.

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