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Monday, August 10, 2009

 

Car Towed After Sign Moved

CAR TOWED AFTER SIGN SWITCHEROO

 

Last updated: 9:56 am
August 10, 2009
Posted: 2:21 am
August 10, 2009

First, they towed a sign. Then they towed a legally parked car.

A Manhattan man had to pay $280 when a city crew, without warning, uprooted a diplomat-parking-only sign and moved it 15 feet -- suddenly making his Mitsubishi's spot illegal.

Shavit Mekeiten had carefully studied an alternate-side parking sign before pulling into a spot on East 41st Street near Second Avenue at 3:30 a.m. Thursday and determined his car could stay where it was until Friday morning.

But six hours later, a two-man crew from the Department of Transportation, apparently ordered to create an extra spot for the New Zealand Consulate, dug out the diplomats-only sign that had been behind Mekeiten's car and moved it right in front of it.

Prowling tow-truck drivers -- under intense NYPD pressure to hook four cars per shift or get hit with graveyard hours or less overtime -- quickly snagged the car, blowing off protests from four outraged witnesses.

Incredibly, Mekeiten was stuck with the $185 tow fee and a $95 ticket for not having diplomatic plates. "They're heartless. They have no conscience," Mekeiten said.

He said getting the car back from the Manhattan tow pound on 38th Street and 12th Avenue "took up my entire day."

"This is insane!" he said after forking over the money at the pound -- where bureaucrats acting like automatons had no interest in his story.

"They don't care anymore. They just have to tow a certain number of cars per driver, and they do it at any cost," said Mekeiten, who works in real estate. "They didn't put up any signs saying they would change the rules."

Adrienne Hong, who has a dry-cleaning business nearby, saw the oblivious crew move the sign. Hong and three doormen who also saw what happened ran up to the tow truck and begged the driver to show some mercy.

"I know that car! They just moved the sign!" said Nick Perkaj, a doorman. "The tow-truck driver just said, 'I don't give a f- - -,' and they towed the car."

Mekeiten said he planned to launch a legal challenge against the ticket and the tow but noted that it would only take up more of his time and money.

"They treated me like I shot someone. This is really, really unfair. I didn't do anything wrong!" he said.

The city admitted that signs were moved in the area. The NYPD did not return a request for comment.

 

UNFAIR: Shavit Mekeiten was ticketed (inset) and towed when a road crew moved a no-parking sign near his car.
UNFAIR: Shavit Mekeiten was ticketed (inset) and towed when a road crew moved a no-parking sign near his car.
NAMAKO
UNFAIR: Shavit Mekeiten was ticketed (inset) and towed when a road crew moved a no-parking sign near his car.
 
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