Dozens towed from lot near fair

October 19, 2012 2:45:37 PM PDT
The State Fair has been a huge hit this year, as officials are seeing record numbers in attendance. All those people need a place to park.

You can pay to park in a lot near the fairgrounds, but if you're looking to save some money and park for free, do so at your own risk.

Ashley Jones met his wife and three kids at the Kmart parking lot off Western Boulevard and walked to the fair. It's a half-mile uphill hike to the fair, but it's free parking.

"We didn't mind walking up to the fair, staying out of traffic, and saving a little money at the same time," Ashley said.

Or so they thought.

Ashley parked both his car and his wife's car at the lot and he said they parked far away from the entrance in a big open space with several other vehicles.

After spending the day at the fair, they got back to the parking lot around 9 p.m. only to find one of their cars missing.

"It was dark and there were other people looking for cars as well. We were all trying to figure out what was going on, why cars were missing," Ashley said. "My first thought was why and how, because I didn't think I had been in the wrong. The only thing we were aware of was no overnight parking."

Ashley said they all quickly realized Ace Towing had towed many of their cars. Since only one of the Jones family's cars was towed, Ashley was able to drive to Ace Towing, but he had to pay $100 to get his wife's car back.

Ashley came back to the parking lot Monday to look for signs and make sure he was in the wrong. Ashley admits he saw two signs at the entrance of the Kmart and one said, "KMART CUSTOMER PARKING ONLY, ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED."

But while he was at the lot, Ashley used his phone and recorded a tow operator from Ace Towing putting a sign in the lot that states, "TOW AWAY ZONE."

"I thought that is pretty convenient now signs are getting put up," Ashley said.

When I talked to the owner of Ace Towing he said he's sorry fairgoers are having this added expense, but the owner of the lot doesn't want to provide free fair parking. That's why he's asked the towing company to remove all vehicles that don't belong to Kmart customers.

The owner of the towing company also said they have towed more cars than normal from this lot. Just last weekend more than 40 were towed. He said once he realized the high number of cars towed, he had one of his employees put up more signs letting people know not to park in the lot if you're not a Kmart shopper.

He also said there has been a problem with people taking down their signs so that they can try to say there were never any signs.

Even with the added signs, we found several fairgoers still parking in the lot. We warned several people that although it may be free parking, it could end up costing them $100.

If you're headed to the fair, watch where you park and take a close look around the lot. If it's questionable, don't park there.

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