BRISTOL â€“ An area business was removed from the cityâ€™s rotating towing company list due to inaccurately filling out reports.
Police Chief Brian Gould said Automotive Plus was just recently removed from the list as part of an investigation.
â€śThat's an initiative we started several years ago,â€ť said Gould. â€śWe have tow companies that get on our tow list and are representative of the Bristol Police Department and we need to enforce the laws on the books to ensure that they are complying with the laws when they are out towing for us.â€ť
Lt. Matthew Moskowitz said an officer a few years ago had started a program to do â€śwrecker inspectionsâ€ť to keep the towing companies â€śhonest.â€ť The tow companies are asked to respond to police calls regarding broken down vehicles or those from accidents.
â€śTheyâ€™re a direct reflection of us,â€ť said Moskowitz.
Officers inspect tow slips that show whether mileage is being accurately documented and if extra man hours and equipment is needed to tow.
â€śAll are being documented the same way,â€ť said Moskowitz. â€śThere are two miles included in the tow. A lot of times they document that they have to tow them for a longer distance other than the two free miles included. Those mileage charges have to be a certain amount and they should be accurately documented. The same goes for storage fees. If itâ€™s a motor vehicle accident and itâ€™s under investigation for a long time, those storage fees add up pretty quickly.â€ť
Officers recently did a wrecker inspection of Automotive Plus and the inspection showed there were a â€śplethoraâ€ť of violations, said Moskowitz. Tow slips were not being documented, some were missing mileage and equipment being used wasnâ€™t being documented. Fees were being added onto slips that did not show what they were for, said the traffic division commander. The investigation came about as a citizen complaint.
â€śWe handled the on-scene inspection,â€ť said Moskowitz. â€śDue to the amount of violations we have, we have fines totaling well over $16,000 and to remove them from the wrecker rotation because of the reflection they have had on the city.â€ť
The lieutenant said the investigation into the tow wrecker inspections for Automotive Plus was started October 19 and ended October 31 due to a citizen complaint saying the individual felt he was being overcharged for services. A citation was issued by Bristol police on November 10 for a ticket of around $3,400 because of over 160 violations. Those violations would normally total around $16,000 in fines, but enforcement chose to cite a lesser amount and remove Automotive Plus from its wrecker rotation. The lieutenant said that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is also committing its own investigation of Automotive Plus to see if the complainant can be reimbursed and that the investationâ€™s completion is still pending.
Commissioner Paul Lemieux said he anticipated more issues to be revealed to the Department of Motor Vehiclesâ€™ investigation.
When called, an Automotive Plus representative said the business had no comment.