WILKES-BARRE — A Plymouth man falsely reported his vehicle stolen after LAG Towing refused to lower its storage rate, according to charges filed.
Billie Brent, 32, was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre on two counts of false reports and a single count of theft. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bail.
Brent reported to police on March 15 that his 1997 Ford Explorer was stolen when it was towed by LAG Towing at the request of police earlier this year.
According to the criminal complaint:
Brent was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility earlier this year and believed his Ford was parked on Courtright Street with a key inside the vehicle and a key on a wheel. When he was released from jail, Brent told police his vehicle was no longer parked on Courtright Street and reported it stolen.
After Brent filed the stolen car report, police learned his girlfriend, Samantha Crawn, had driven the Ford when it got a flat tire on Scott Street. The Ford was left on Scott Street for two weeks before police had LAG Towing remove it. It was taken to LAG’s impound yard on Carey Avenue.
Crawn went to LAG on Jan. 17 and allegedly caused a disturbance to which police responded. Crawn allegedly told police she told Brent she was driving the Ford and got a flat tire, and the vehicle had been towed by LAG, the complaint says.
Police allege in the complaint that after he was released from jail, Brentwent to LAG several times trying to negotiate a lower price to get his vehicle released. LAG was not able to reach terms agreeable to Brent and never released the vehicle due to lack of payment, according to the complaint.
When Brent was at LAG, he allegedly told LAG proprietor Leo Glodzik III and employee James Bossi that he was going to report the Ford stolen so he could get it back without being charged, police allege in the complaint.
LAG has been under scrutiny by city Councilman Tony George about towing practices and high storage fees.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on May 2.