DENVER — The screeching sound her car makes while being towed in the Ring video is like nails on a chalkboard to teacher Karin Rager.
"You can hear that something isn't right," said Rager, whose car was towed from her Lakewood condo complex last week because of expired plates, even though proof of current registration was displayed on her dash. "I was frustrated and upset because I felt like I had done everything the towing company had told me to do."
Last month, the state of Colorado requested leniency for expired registration because of DMV and mail delays, but Contact Denver7 has discovered tow truck drivers wandering residential complex parking lots across the Denver metro, looking for reasons to tow.
Now, Governor Jared Polis said he would consider restrictions on towing for expired plates during the pandemic.
"This should not be happening in Colorado," Polis said."As you exposed, this can be a racket. People have to pay hundreds of hundreds of dollars just to get their car back. And it's inappropriate, and we'll take whatever steps are necessary to make sure it doesn't occur in Colorado."
It is occurring in Colorado, though.
Since Contact Denver7 started investigating, we have been inundated calls and emails from people who have been towed from their homes for expired registration.
"They said they weren't going to tow us, and they towed us," said Alex Duvall, who said he had to pay $300 after his car was towed from his Aurora condo complex after he told them he was waiting for his DMV appointment. "I understand them towing certain vehicles that are causing a problem or parked illegally. If you have an expired tag or plate, you're not causing a problem."
Rager said that once Wyatt's towing saw her registration was displayed on her dash, they did not charge her to get her car back, but she said the cost was still too high.
"I had to take off time off of work to go get my car," Rager said. "Now my car is being inspected for damage. I want to inform others this is happening."
If you have a story about predatory towing during the pandemic or being overcharged for a tow, please contact the Governor's office, as they are investigating the issue: https://www.colorado.gov/governor/contact-us
Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Denver7 stories here.