CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The impound lot was filled with rows upon rows of cars behind a rusty fence Monday. Several people believe their cars were wrongly towed from the downtown area this past weekend, however.
One woman, Marie, told Cleveland 19 she parked her car legally at a meter at W. Lakeside and W. 9th at about midnight Saturday, only to come out two hours later to find it gone -- and another car parked in its place. She took video on her cellphone and shared it with Cleveland 19. She said that the video clearly shows no signs and no warnings of towing.
Marie's voice, captured in the video, said: "This is where my car was at and it's not there, no sign that says I can't park there."
She believes the city was wrongly towing cars to make money.
A Cleveland Police Department spokesperson said that they posted signage at 4 p.m. Saturday at places where people couldn't park, and starting towing cars at about 8 p.m. Saturday. The same basic rules apply for parking over the weekend that applies for big events like Browns games.
The issue is about safety, said Cleveland Police spokesperson Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia. She said the goal is to keep streets from becoming overcrowded in case there is an emergency, so vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances can get through.
Marie said she still thinks the cops were wrong, her car shouldn't have been towed, and swears she will never again go downtown. She said it will cost more than $200 to get her car out of impound just from the tow, a parking cost that's just too expensive.
"I'm never going back down there, no, they will never get another dime from me because I spent a lot of money down there and then you towed my vehicle," she said.
Cleveland 19 has asked the city, the police department spokesperson, and the traffic commissioner's office for a total number of cars towed over this past weekend. Ciaccia said exact numbers would require a public records request.