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FBI asked to look into LAG Towing Inc.??s practices


March 16. 2013 9:22PM
TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER

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WILKES-BARRE – U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith has asked the FBI to review complaints against Wilkes-Barre city towing contractor Leo Glodzik III, according to a letter sent to one of Glodzik's main critics.


Mark Robbins, a Forty Fort resident, received the letter, dated Feb. 1, on Tuesday. The letter states Smith had received information Robbins provided that alleges Glodzik engaged in fraud.


I am forwarding your letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an independent review and follow-up, if appropriate, Smith says in the letter.


Glodzik, owner of LAG Towing Inc., has come under fire in recent weeks after several people came forward to allege he violated a provision within his contract that precludes him from charging victims of crime.


Those incidents and allegations that Glodzik engages in price gouging led city council to pass a resolution last month asking Mayor Tom Leighton to terminate LAG's contract.


Glodzik maintains he did not violate the contract.



In a prepared statement issued Wednesday, Leighton said city officials are continuing their inquiry into LAG and will not comment until the investigation is complete. Any state or federal agency that may also be looking into LAG Towing, its owner or operations, should be contacted directly for confirmation of their activities, Leighton said.


In an interview last week, Police Chief Gerry Dessoye said city officials are still investigating Glodzik's practices, but he believes there are instances in which a crime victim can be charged if the tow was ordered by an agency other than Wilkes-Barre.


Robbins said he's pleased that the effort he put into scrutinizing the city's contracted tower finally has the attention of law enforcement. It's a sad state that someone has to go through what I and other activists have gone through to get justice, Robbins said


Robbins began looking into LAG last summer after his car was towed. Since then, he has amassed hundreds of pages of documents from the city and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation relating to Glodzik's towing of abandoned vehicles.


By law, an auto salvage operator is supposed to file an abandoned vehicle report with PennDOT within 48 hours of taking possession of an abandoned vehicle. PennDOT will then send a letter to the owner advising him or her of the vehicle's location. The tower cannot charge storage fees until after notice has been sent to the owner.


Glodzik filed a total of 998 abandoned vehicle forms from May 2005 to 2011, according to information PennDOT provided Robbins. Glodzik did not file a single report in 2012, a PennDOT spokeswoman previously said.


Robbins contends the failure to file those reports caused delays in alerting owners to the locations of their vehicles. Robbins further contends that allowed Glodzik to rack up excessive storage fees, which he then used to coerce people into signing over the titles to their cars.


An employee at LAG Towing said Glodzik was not available to speak to a reporter who visited the shop Wednesday morning. Reached by cellphone late Wednesday afternoon, Glodzik said he would have to get back to a reporter. He did not return the phone call to the reporter.


Glodzik's attorney, Tom Ford, did not return a phone message seeking comment.




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