Monday, May 21, 2012

Lincoln Towing Blues

We break into cars when we gotta
With pickaxe and hammer and saw
And they said this garage had no license
But little care I for the law!
All my drivers are friendly and courteous
Their good manners you always will get
'Cause they all are recent graduates
Of the charm school in Joliet

Seem like Lincoln Towing hasn't changed a whole lot since Steve Goodman immortalized the business in 1973.  A reader writes with some disturbing allegations:

"I am not sure if anyone has brought this to your attention as I know there have been many calls into the alderman's office on the subject. First let me say that I am not under the illusion that towing companies in Chicago are an ethical bunch. However- Lincoln Towing is absolutely out of control.

Our building was re-paving our parking area and while unloading the paving materials, my husband and neighbor just witnessed them aggressively tow a car from our alley while my neighbor's wife was holding onto the door! As they sped off, she could have been seriously hurt or worse.

The fact of the matter is- Lincoln Towing is towing from an electrical easement in our alley under the guise of a towing contract with the owner of the empty lot on Malden. This is ILLEGAL- they have no right to tow from the electrical easement. Even IF they have a contract with the land owner- that would not include any part of the easement unless said car was blocking the owners gate/ entry way.

We have also witnessed them asking for bribes...the owner of the property has landscapers come and keep the lot cut and cleared and Lincoln Towing tried to tow them! The landscaper was then asked to "give me all your cash..". Unbelievable and unethical. Something must be done. We have contacted the Alderman's office and were told to call 911...however we do that and there is NO response- nothing- nada, even when there was almost a physical altercation in the "bribe" tow situation. Or- in today's instance, we were told we needed to deal directly with Lincoln Towing. This has now become an issue of harassment as well as safety. We have now demanded that the Alderman get involved and remedy the situation immediately before someone gets hurt."


  1. From Wilmette to Gary,
    There is nothing so hairy,
    And we always,
    Collect our........


    Singin' ....hey hey tow them away

    The Linclon Park Pirates are we....

  2. I saw this happen Saturday morning and it's one of the crazier things I've seen in Chicago. I'd seen the stories about illegal towing but never thought it could be done so quickly. The tow truck came flying down the alley way too fast. Lincoln Towing illegally had that car up and gone in about 5 seconds. The woman trying to get to her car could very easily have been run over. What if there was a kid in the car?

    It's one of the times I wished I lived somewhere else, perhaps a conceal and carry state where this guy might not have been so brave. I don't have much faith in the alderman doing anything about especially since Lincoln Towing is not in his ward and they've operated like this for 40 years.

    Be careful where you park....

  3. Birds would tweet happy songs again, rainbows would come out more, bangers would help old people cross the street while smiling gleefully, Shiller would come out of hiding re-join the community and teach a free outdoor yoga class and hand out lollipops afterwards IF (and I wish I could type IF bigger) Lincoln Towing didn't exist. A scientific study concluded that they suck more than the intake on a jet engine. Any biz that exists for the sole purpose of making $$ off of misery has a deal w/the devil.

    I should add that I don't have a car (thank God) to worry about but man have I heard the stories. Oh and they towed my mom's not parked illegally at all car once, bastards.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I understand someone from the alderman's office is always at the local CAPS beat meeting. Is this right?

    If so, and since this is an ongoing chronic issue, has anyone ever brought this up at CAPS? It's always a good place to start.

  6. My Dad left his car with a UHaul trailer attached, in a public alley with the flashers on when I was moving into my first apt. While we were carrying stuff up the stairs, the Lincoln Park Pirates apparated in the alley, hitched his car and the trailer up to a tow truck and sped away. My Dad came down in time to see his car at the end of the street and ran after it. Many hours later, he came back after paying a ransom to get his car and the trailer out of the Lincoln Park Towing lot. He was mad as h__ll, vowing never to set foot in Chicago again. He's been true to his word and not set foot (or tire) in the city again.

  7. They illegally tow at the vacant KFC at broadway and buena. There is no permit for them to tow, but they tow all the time. I have also whittnessed them drinking at Murphy's bleachers and Higgins pub on Racine. Several drinks and then driving tow trucks.

  8. Ever wonder why the gate to the park is always broken at Wilson? A city worker told me that the tow trucks break the gate, so they can quickly tow cars out of the neighborhoods, and store in the lot by the skate park. They can then move them to the yard later in the evening, after they collected dozens of cars. Very efficient use of their time.

    I can't confirm that its true, but it seems plausible.

  9. Lincoln Towing is a criminal organization.

    I think if anyone were to take a serious look at them, you would find people with criminal backgrounds working together in an organized way.

    Now, what I want to know is....who are they connected to?

    Who in city hall or locally do they pay off, and or threaten.

    What is Capplemans position on this part of "Uptown"?

    How are they able to continue for so many years when they openly threaten people with dogs and physical threats.

    Why are they allowed to charge such and exhorbitant fee?

    Wouldn't this be a profit center for the city? The city tows cars too and charges a lot. Why are these people allowed to continue after so many obvious and dangerous violations.

    In 1992 the were charged with stealing vehicles and stripping them down. They were aquitted.

    Why are they allowed to continue?

    Who are they paying off?

    Who owns Lincon towing?

  10. Google is your friend, Stu.

    They are regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

    I love how you're trying to pin all the blame on Cappleman. Dude, they've been around since the days of Richard J. If *he* and his council and Royko couldn't get rid of 'em, I don't think they're going anywhere.

  11. My car was towed by Lincoln Towing 2 years back. I was parked illegally, unbeknownst to me, and there but there were several things Lincoln Towing did wrong. After looking up the rules, the signs weren't properly placed (that's how I missed the illegalness on my parking) and the fees varied on the signs from what they charged me. After fighting it with state regulator's, 9 months later I was able to get my money back.

    (Sorry, accidentally posted that under my girlfriend's account, so I deleted it and am posting it under mine.)

  12. I live in the building next door to where this happened and have never seen anything quite like it. The tow truck drove down the alley quickly, hooked up the car without ever getting out of the tow truck (!) and pullled away in a matter of 30 seconds. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. And all while these poor people were just trying to fix their parking area - it's not like they parked and left (like many contractors and repair-workers do ALL THE TIME), they were within feet of the vehicle that was towed and in plain sight of the tow truck...unbelievable. I feel just awful for them and wish them the best in pursuing justice.

  13. Simple don't park illegally and you won't be towed. Never heard a person yet admit they were in the wrong when it comes to being towed. They always say the towing company are corrupt.

    You can't park illegally anywhere even just for a minute so get over it.

    If you let one person slide this City would be in gridlock.

  14. A - Absolutely. I also notice this trend when complaining about towing companies. If you park illegally, even for a minute, you are under pain of being towed. What makes you so special that you are above the rules while the rest of us suckers have to follow them?

    To the person whose dad's car was towed from the alley - you realize that people have to drive in the alley right? There are a multitude of garages and space in and out is very tight. If you are going to leave your car there, you need to leave someone in it so that they can move the car if it's blocking someone, which obviously wasn't done as the car was towed. In general it's a very bad idea to park in an alley as it inconveniences everyone.

    Now if they are really braking gates so they can drop off towed cars illegally, someone needs to look into this and take the appropriate action.

  15. GG...

    I have my car towed by them 30 years ago, 2 times. You can't forget the dogs in the bakcground the drawer pulled out with a gun in it when you complain, and the unbelievable amount of money they want.

    They aren't being looked into.

    I'm just wondering who they are connected to and I have blamed Cappleman who has nothing to do with them as far as I know. I just want to know what he thinks of them.


    THey are bad people. THey will tow your car on the flimsiest of reasons and if you show up while they are putting themselves in position to your car they will fight and curse with you.

    Get real GG.

  16. Thank you A and Greg, representatives from Lincoln Towing for chiming in. This was a one sided debate so thank you for bringing the other perspective. All of us that have been swindled and extorted out of money over the years by your company can sympathize with your position. Thank you for helping us see the light.

  17. I don't work for a towing company. But I do know for a fact how it works. Every see South Beach Tow. All those people think they can park for a minute illegally and then are mad at the tow drivers doing there job. Or think they can park in a Walgreens lot and run to the store next door. Cause they see an open space.

  18. UptownAction - I do not work for a towing company either. I just felt like I needed to chime in and respond to the echo chamber of towing hate here. I still haven't heard any stories of them towing cars that were parked legally... so if you don't want to get towed, don't park illegally.

  19. EMAIL ME, we handle these situations and can easily send a cease and desist letter on behalf of anyone:

  20. I live by the KFC lot and have talked to the Alderman's office.

    There are two separate issues.

    First, I was told by the alderman's office that they DO have the rights/permit to tow from the KFC lot, Bubba.

    Second, that in no way excuses their actions in towing those cars. Almost every car I see them tow, they drop off their truck as they attempt to spin them around to tow from the hood.

    I similarly witnessed a woman at her car. One of the towers got out to "help" her. The minute she began talking to him, the driver nabbed her car and peeled out. The tower talking to the woman then ran across the street and jumped in the truck and they both sped off.

    Yes, A and G, they can, and in many circumstances should, tow. But they do not have to conduct themselves deceitfully and/or destructively