Florida man arrested for predatory towing of cars at Gay Days

WiG and AP reports

Authorities have arrested a man they say illegally towed cars during the 2014 Gay Days celebration in Orlando, Florida.

Orange County Sheriffs deputies arrested 45-year-old Jason Combs for towing more than 100 vehicles between June 5 and June 9. The annual festivities draw tens of thousands to the area. The arrest came after numerous complaints that Combs’ ASAP Towing company targeted victims based on their sexual orientation.

Authorities say ASAP Towing made some $16,000 towing the cars but lacked permission to do so.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that authorities said Combs lacked an up-to-date contract for towing vehicles — one contract expired in May, and the new contract was not awarded until mid-June, after the festival.

The newspaper also said police indicated that Combs targeted vehicles for towing during Gay Days in 2013.

Combs’ attorney said over the weekend that his client denied the charges. He said Combs did have a contract to tow vehicles parked illegally.

Investigators are also looking into collusion with cab companies who lined up to take stranded drivers to the tow lot. Combs faces 29 counts of grand theft auto.

Those whose vehicles were towed were assessed a $165 fee for the towing, plus a $40 gate fee at the tow lot, a fee not permitted under Florida law.

The complaint against Combs said spotters watched for people parking cars and quickly notified tow-truck operators.