The Ocean County Prosecutor is investigating a Toms River, N.J. tow truck company for allegedly towing hundreds of cars and boats, many of which were on private property, and gouging customers in the aftermath of Sandy, NBC 4 New York has learned.
APK Towing moved hundreds of cars from the streets of Seaside Heights under a contract it had with the town to help keep recovery efforts from being hampered, sources familiar with the investigation said. The borough had ordered any vehicles still on the street after the storm to be towed to assist with cleanup.
But residents complained that many of those cars were on private property, and that when they went over the bridge to the company's lot in Toms River, they were charged as much as $1,000 to get their cars and other vehicles back.
A law enforcement source told NBC 4 New York that in one case, a boat owner was charged $5,000 to retrieve his boat after it was removed from a street in the storm-ravaged borough.
The towing lot remains jammed with cars picked up over several days after the worst part of the storm when flooded streets, downed wires and other debris prevented owners from getting to their vehicles or watercraft.
New Jersey's gouging law forbids raising prices by more than 10 percent during an emergency.
The attorney for APK Towing says the company will now charge a flat fee of $250 and anyone who paid more will be reimbursed.