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USA Wrecker Pageant trucks in Texas will be inside
FedEx Truck crashed in same location as another recent incident
A tow boom shuts down Junction City, Oregon, event
The Hercules unit is a 50,000-lbs. planetary winch
What's your company policy; what are the state's regs?
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August 17-19, 2017
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The old adage "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link" is absolutely true. Knowing how to identify the different grades of chain and their working load limits is critical to safe operation. These topics and more will be highlighted in the "Chain and Connecting Links" seminar that will be presented by American Towman Field Editor Terry Abejuela at Tow Expo Dallas, August 17-19, 2017 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas.
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJuly 26 - August 01, 2017

Repo Undercover Conference in Dallas

AT Repo Editor Mark Lacek, of Commercial Asset Solutions, once again will be at Tow Expo-Dallas, as he presents his two-day Repo Undercover conference. This information-packed seminars will be a comprehensive overview of the state of the current repo industry and how you can navigate your way to success in it.

Over two days, Lacek will touch upon strategies designed to increase repo agents' earning potential and deliver clients.

Topics include: Increasing your profits by repossessing commercial trucks and equipment; Skip tracing and information brokers; How to be profitable in the auto repossession business; Controlling the high cost of insurance premiums; How not to become involved in a wrongful repossession lawsuit; What's new in the Automated License Plate Recognition world.

The two-day Repo Undercover Conference will take during Tow Expo-Dallas, Aug. 17-19 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas. Online registration is available at

Agent Discusses [b]Dangers of Repo Work

A repo agent is speaking out about how dangerous the job can be.

George Cook, owner of George's Towing in Wichita Falls, Texas, has been in the business for more than 30 years and repossess about 10 vehicles a week.

Cook said he has been stabbed, shoved and one person even sent a dog after him.

"You know typical stuff, but we try to not have any contact with the debtor when we're repossessing," said Cook.

That is why he hooks vehicles up quickly. He can do it in less than ten seconds.

He said something he does to try and stay safe is always showing up in his wrecker, so people know why he is there. But still, he said even though it is nothing personal some people do not see it that way.

"It's not our fault we're there," said Cook. "We don't know you, we don't know your situation, we just get paperwork and we are coming to get the vehicles."

Cook said those who want to get into the business have to go through training, get the proper insurance and certify their trucks with the Texas Department of License and Registry.

However, a Wichita Falls lawyer said repo men do not have to show up in wreckers. He said they can use spare keys to repossess a vehicle without a tow truck and even hotwire a vehicle. He said as long as they do not disturb the peace, they are in compliance with the law.


BMW Smashed over [b]Late Payments

A Hamilton, Ohio, man was arrested after witnesses said he hit and smashed a 2004 BMW, apparently over late payments. Forest Park police arrested Agron Destani, 41, on two charges of aggravated menacing.

Andrew Brewster said he bought the car from Destani in April at Destani's dealership Ardi Auto Imports. Brewster admitted he had been a few payments behind, but said he recently sent in a $300 payment.

Brewster said he was in a Kroger parking lot July 1 when Destani slammed his black tow truck into the front driver's side of the car.

"The front fender was damaged, front bumper was damaged, the headlight housing was damaged, the rims were tore up," Brewster said.

Brewster and his passenger, Mitchell Hill, said Destani then got out of the tow truck and smashed the front windshield with a metal pole.

Brewster said he drove across the street to the Forest Park Police Department and flagged down an officer.

"I just let them handle it from there and it escalated with him, he got into it with a couple sergeants there and they ended up arresting him," Brewster said.


Money and Adrenaline

Located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, repossessions are the majority of Legendary Towing's business.

Owners Scott Mahin and his wife, Lindsay, work with their driver Chris Sacawa repossessing cars.

"We also supplement it a little with towing," said Mahin, who calls repossessions "a gamble" with a payday of about $300 per repossession. A good week could see 20 repos, and a slow week could be only five.

"It's just something different all the time," Mahin said. "You can go around and do roadside and change tires, but this is more of an adrenaline rush. We've been shot at a few times, but those are the crazy ones."

Sacawa's crew finds their targets by looking up the addresses of people whose vehicles are up for repossession. Some of the folks are "good people who didn't pay their bill," said Mahin, but others habitually fail to make payments on their cars and move around a lot.

"You have to play detective to get them," Mahin said.

The crew tries to do most of their runs at night when people are sleeping or when they're at work to avoid confrontation; but sometimes confrontation can't be avoided.

"Me and Chris went to this one in Conway where we hooked a car and were driving out of the yard when [the car owner] shot like six rounds at us," Mahin said.

"He held the gun up to us saying 'this is the worst mistake you're ever going to make,'" Sacawa said.
But the crew was off the property, and successfully repossessed the car.

Getting attacked is the exception, not the rule.

"Those are the crazy ones," said Sacawa. "It's not like you see on TV."


Title in Limbo after Repo

Tamika Pouncil never drives her car without first grabbing a whole lot of paperwork to prove—when she gets pulled over by police—that she owns the car and is desperately trying to get it registered.

"Now I have five tickets," said Pouncil, a Kansas City, Missouri, single working mother of two. "I'm in court in Olathe (Kansas) next month."

Pouncil isn't upset with police. She knows they are just doing their job. She's upset with her car loan company.

Although she paid off her entire car loan in March, the loan company won't give her the title. That means she can't get her tags renewed and is driving illegally.

Pouncil said she has no choice but to keep driving. Pouncil's problems started last February after her car was repossessed because she had fallen behind on her payments.

With the help of family and friends, Pouncil paid off the entire car note a few weeks later and got her car back. That was on March 21; in June she still didn't have her title back.

So who has her title? Santander. That's the name of the loan company that repossessed her car and then put the title in its name. The title, however, should have been signed back over to Pouncil on March 21 – the day she got her car back. But it wasn't.

"I can't get it resolved," Pouncil said. "I've done everything they've asked me to do."

But every time she calls Santander to find out where her title is, Pouncil said she is told Santander is still missing paperwork that it needs faxed over.

"These are the fourth set of faxes," she said as she waved a pile of documents.

To make matters worse, Pouncil said Santander customer service representatives often won't return her phone calls. When we talked to her in June, more than a month had passed since she had actually gotten to speak to a Santander representative on the phone.

Eventually, Pouncil file a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency—the federal regulatory agency that oversees many banks and loan companies.

Two weeks later, Pouncil got her title.


Woman Accused [b]of Hitting Repo Agent

A Wichita Falls, Texas, woman is accused of running over a repo agent trying to repossess her vehicle.

According to the probable cause affidavit, officers were called regarding a woman, later identified as Malana Nicole Foster, 32, causing a disturbance. Upon arrival, officers spoke to the victim, who said he was trying to repossess a vehicle and had a video of the incident.

In the video, the officer noted Foster got into the driver seat of a red Chevrolet Cobalt and started the vehicle. The video then panned over to show the repo agent standing in front of the vehicle and nothing behind it.

Foster put the vehicle into drive, hit the agent with the front bumper and then drove in reverse at a high rate of speed with the victim hanging onto the hood.

She struck a parked vehicle, causing the victim to jump off the vehicle, and fled the scene. The repo agent had a GPS tracker on the vehicle that indicated where it was.

The officer located a woman matching the description in the video sitting on a porch in the area the GPS indicated. The red Cobalt was also found behind the residence in some thick brush.

Foster identified herself and told the officer she struck the man because he took $400 from her a week ago and didn't give it back to her.

She was arrested on July 8 and charged with aggravated assault. She was out of Wichita County Jail a week later on $10,000 bail.

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