By Niki D'Andrea
Planning to party at Dos Gringos in Tempe this weekend? Watch where you park, lest you leave the club to find an empty slab of asphalt where your car used to be. Starting on Thursday nights, local towing companies have been having a heyday hauling vehicles from unauthorized parking spaces. The weekend of September 12-14, more than 40 vehicles were towed from the area. In many cases, clubgoers didn’t realize they were parking in tow-away zones, and were shocked when they had to shell out upwards of $140 each to retrieve their vehicles.
“They do this every weekend,” says Andy Herrera, a.k.a. DJ Big Latin. “They towed my girlfriend’s car last weekend. It costs $140. I just made that much that night, and I gave it to her. And it has to be cash -- no checks, no credit cards. You literally have to go to the bank, pull out the money, and go back.”
Herrera says some of the parking signs in the area are inconspicuous. “There were signs that said ‘Reserved Parking’ early in the night, and later, they had ‘No Parking’ stickers over the signs. Some of the signs are so small and low you can’t even see them.,” says Herrera, who sent us the photos posted below.
Dude, where’s my car? Probably in the S.W.A.T. towing garage.
The towing begins after midnight, when most of the businesses in the area are closed. Prime tow-away zones include the Tempe Marketplace lots, the lot on the corner of 8th Street and Rural where Acme Roadhouse used to be, and the nearby post office parking lot. But cars parked in the lot on Dos Gringos’ property are safe, according to Dos Gringos general manager Jon Lane. “We don’t ever tow,” he says. “We wanna make sure people know they can come here and not worry about being towed from our lots. If they need us to call them a cab, they can even leave their cars parked in our lot all night.”
If your vehicle does happen to be towed from a space near Dos Gringos, chances are it was towed by S.W.A.T. towing, a company with an exclusive contract for the city of Tempe. You will need to call the company at 480-644-9839 and then pay the fees to get your car back.
Or you could avoid the headaches altogether by parking in Dos Gringos’ own lot. At the very least, make sure you scour the area where you parked for hidden “No parking” signs.