Miami Beach Towing Company Denies Theft

Tremont towing says its following Florida law when it searches vehicles

By Willard Shepard
|  Thursday, Feb 18, 2010  |  Updated 9:40 AM EDT
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Miami Beach Parking Scam Alleged

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FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 09: A repossession agent for Repo-Man.net hooks up a car to his tow truck as he repossesses it February 9, 2009 near Fort Myers, Florida. U.S. President Barack Obama is planning on visiting the area which has seen its unemployment rate rise to 10 percent from six percent in a year. Repossessions of vehicles, boats and other items have picked up due to the economic situation in the region. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Miami Beach Towing Company Denies Wrongdoing

Tremont Towing said they're just doing their job when they search the cars they tow from Miami Beach.

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The towing company whose employees were caught on tape allegedly taking items from towed cars is speaking out, denying any wrongdoing and claiming they have the right to search cars.

A video obtained by NBCMiami and shot by Miami Beach residents shows Tremont Towing workers breaking into vehicles once they got them on their lot and rifling through them,.

"That's straight up stealing," said one veteran tow truck driver, who only wanted to be identified as "Mike."

The video shows drivers searching bags, sportcoats and then, at times, walking off with belongings.

"There is no reason to enter the vehicles once they are in the lot. The only reason to enter the vehicle is if the identification number is covered," Mike said.

Tremont completely denied any wrongdoing yesterday and said any workers found stealing will be fired and evidence turned over to police.

The city said it's concerned about what these pictures show and that it has already come up with a towing bill of rights to protect residents and visitors.

Tremont Towing is one of two towing companies that has a contract to tow for the city and private businesses on Miami Beach.

"We expect anyone we contract with to be ethical," acting Miami Beach City Manager Hilda Fernandez said.

However, Tremont's attorney said that Florida law requires they search the car to obtain registration material, and that no one has actually reported to police their items were stolen.

"Obviously, if people are victimized they need to report any issue they have," Fernandez said.

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