Just the Facts

For about a year now Mark Robbins, of Forty Fort, has been making the charge that Leo Glodzik, owner of LAG Towing in Wilkes-Barre, has been operating some sort of auto seizure and theft ring, under the protection of the city administration. Full details of Mark’s allegations can be found at his website, www.gratefulhands.net.

Charlotte Raup, president of the Wilkes-Barre City Crime Watch comments, “I listen to the scanner all the time, and these are lawful tows.” And many citizens I’ve spoken with tend to agree with Charlotte that the municipal police call LAG Towing when some sort of parking violation is committed by a motorist, so what’s not being alleged is that LAG is snatching cars for no reason.

What is raising some eyebrows, however, is what may have been transpiring following the lawful tows.

The reader may recall that in February of this year Robbins tried unsuccessfully to recover a car belonging to Senta Boyer after she was lawfully stopped by city police, and her car was then towed and impounded at LAG facility. Mark accompanied Ms. Boyer on a visit to this facility and attempted to pay over $3000 in fees (for a car he asserts was worth only about $1500), only to have his offer of a credit card payment refused, even though LAG Towing advertises that it does indeed accept credit card payments. To add insult to injury, the tower also denied Ms. Boyer access to her own vehicle in order to retrieve some of her personal possessions.

And what of the case of Robert DeLeo, 45, of Pittston? DeLeo’s son, Robert Daniel DeLeo, 18, of Wilkes Barre, was arrested by Hanover Township police this past May 31 near Meyers High School, on a charge of possessing an altered firearm. Upon the younger DeLeo’s arrest, his car, a 1999 green Dodge Neon was abandoned on the city streets without a driver and it was then towed to the city’s impound lot at LAG Towing.

So, that same day, Robert, Sr. phoned LAG Towing to ask how he could recover his son’s car, and was instructed, “If you bring $350 in cash, you can pick up the car, but on the condition that the car must be towed off the lot.”  That evening, Mr. DeLeo and a friend from work (who happens to own a towing company in Larksville) proceeded to the LAG Towing impound lot in an attempt to recover the vehicle. Upon arrival, the men were informed by an LAG employee that, “The car [is] on police hold, and that would need to be cleared up before the car could be released.”

Since the arresting officer from Hanover Township, Officer Stefanowicz, was working the night shift it took some time for Mr. DeLeo to make contact with him, but once he did, he was notified that Hanover Township Police had not, in fact, placed a “hold” on his son’s car.  Mr. DeLeo then returned to LAG’s impound lot the next business day, Tuesday, June 5, on account of the Memorial Day Holiday, in a second attempt to recover the Dodge Neon. This time, he was told by the same LAG employee who had made the original “hold” claim that “it wasn’t Hanover Township that placed the police hold, it was Wilkes-Barre City, as that was the police department that ordered the tow, and impound.” So, Mr. DeLeo immediately drove to the Wilkes-Barre Police Station where he learned that “we only sent an abandoned car to impound. We are not the arresting police department, and any such hold would have been placed by the arresting officer(s).”

Robert made another trip to LAG’s lot, only to learn that because his son’s car had been left in their impound lot “all this time” the levied storage fees wound be in excess of $850. When Mr. DeLeo asked the tower’s employee,”If not the police, then who was it that ordered the hold on his son’s car anyway?” the unsatisfying response was, “The driver wrote it on the tow slip.” Mr. DeLeo asked the identity of that driver so he could clarify where this directive had originated only to hear the retort of “I don’t know who the driver was,” at which point DeLeo attempted to explain that, “this was clearly an LAG error, and neither police department ordered a hold” on his son’s vehicle. DeLeo was then promptly dismissed, but before departing, he did ask if he could simply recover his son’s personal items from the vehicle, to which the employee responded, “You can have those items only if you give up the title and $100.”

Of course, Mr. DeLeo refused such a demand, and proceeded to contact the Wilkes-Barre Independent Gazette. In investigating, our staff determined that, in fact, no hold was ever ordered by either the Wilkes-Barre Police Department, or Hanover Township’s department, and when we notified Leo Glodzik of this finding he agreed to return Mr. DeLeo’s car to him for $400. So, both parties wound up parting somewhat satisfied with the whole incident.

After all this, Mr. DeLeo contacted us to thank us for our assistance, and to inform our staff that LAG was operating in South Wilkes-Barre towing the cars of those attending the Meyers High School Graduation, which he personally witnessed as he retrieved his son’s car. So, it is with that final eye-witness account that we thank you, Mr. DeLeo, and all the good citizens like you, who are willing to stand up for what’s right.

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