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Wayne State student fights controversial Detroit towing company over allegations of illegal tow

Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 20:21:42-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "It's frustrating, I'm a student, it's my money," says Nicai Sorell.

He is an engineering student at Wayne State University. He also drives for the car-sharing service Uber.

Last fall, he parked in the Midtown Liquor parking lot off of Willis near Woodward, went inside to buy two Gatorades and two ice cream treats that he shared with the homeless man sitting outside, then he picked up a take-out order across the street.

When Sorell returned minutes later, he says his car was being hooked up to a tow truck. He showed his liquor store receipt and even offered to pay the man to leave his car, but it was still towed.

it cost him $400 cash to retrieve his car just 20 minutes later.

He went to attorney Tony Paris for help. They won a judgment of over $1,000 back in January but still haven't seen a dime.

They aren’t the only ones waiting for Breakthrough Towing to pay up. Action News received an email from one viewer who says both her car and her mother’s car were wrongly towed by Breakthrough Towing.

They went to court and each won judgments for hundreds of dollars. Now they say they can't collect.

Requesting garnishment is the next step, but attorney Tony Paris says that isn't easy to do.

They need to identify the bank the company is using or identify property owned by the company that they can retrieve as payment.

Paris says Breakthrough Towing's owner is now operating as Magic Towing, which makes things more difficult as well. Paris says a class action lawsuit may be the only recourse people have.

The Attorney General's Office says they are partnering with Michigan State Police to investigate.

An attorney for Breakthrough Towing contacted 7 Action News shortly before 6 p.m. He said that Breakthrough Towing would pay the judgments for the mother and daughter within a week.

He also said he would need to look at the other case to determine if they will payout and that these were all default judgments because Breakthrough Towing didn't show up to court in these cases.

The attorney says Breakthrough Towing only tows when businesses they are contracted with call them and ask for a tow.