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Stolen car case grabs officialâ??s attention


February 20. 2013 2:52AM
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WILKES-BARRE – The second-ranking city council member said he is considering discussing at meetings this week how police and the city's towing contractor handled a stolen car case involving an elderly woman.


Tony George, council vice chairman, acknowledged Saturday other people might raise the issue before he does.


I believe something was done wrong, he said.


It wouldn't be the first time council discussed LAG Towing Inc. and its owner, Leo Glodzik III. Last July, after receiving complaints from people whose vehicles were towed, George asked Mayor Tom Leighton to terminate LAG's contract, alleging price gouging and failing to provide receipts requested by the city. Instead of backing George, council agreed to set up a committee to review the contract. That committee has yet to meet.


The latest case centers on the 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass that belonged to Natalie Aleo of North Meade Street. Aleo, who is in her 80s, reported her car stolen on Dec. 10, but was not notified of its whereabouts until last week by Glodzik. Aleo gave Glodzik the title of the car, which he said had a blown engine and was not worth repairing.


It was not known how the engine might have become damaged.


She had no complaints with Glodzik, only with the person who stole her car, and with police, who failed to notify her in a timely manner, she said.


The case drew in the mayor, who said he called Aleo after talking to Glodzik.


This lady had no idea why the mayor was calling her, Leighton said. Aleo told him she was perfectly happy with LAG, he said, and did not know why it was an issue.


Leighton said she told him Charlotte Raup, president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition, was insisting that Aleo was a victim and that she should file a complaint.


Raup said she spoke to Aleo after hearing that Glodzik wanted to charge her $1,700 to get her car out of storage. Aleo does not have to pay anything to get her car from Glodzik because she was the victim of a crime, Raup said.


City police should have notified Aleo immediately after locating her car in Plymouth and having it towed to LAG's lot on Carey Avenue, she said.


Raup made no apologies for getting involved.


Every time a victim of a crime is treated like this, she said, I will open my mouth.


Glodzik disputed Raup's account of his dealing with Aleo. We don't charge the victim of a crime, he said. She didn't pay anything.


Glodzik said Aleo asked him a hypothetical question: what it would cost to get her car out of storage. Ma'am, it would be like $2,000, he said he told her. Glodzik offered, for a towing fee, to take the car wherever she wanted it moved, he said, but she did not want that done after learning about the condition of the car.


Glodzik came across it while moving cars around, he said. After finding identification papers in the car, he called and she came to the lot, he said. She called city police from his office, he said.


Glodzik doesn't plan to get the car in running condition. What I'll do is junk the car, he said.




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