South Philly Man Says He Captured a Tow Truck Bait Scheme on Video

Chris Norman recorded the incident, which took place near Broad Street and Washington Avenue. Police are investigating.

Tow Truck Bait Scheme

Courtesy of Chris Norman via Facebook

Footage of an alleged tow truck bait scheme is gaining traction after South Philly vigilante Chris Norman posted it to Facebook on Monday.

Norman has set out to expose George Smith towing company for what he believes are shady practices — he says he sees employees from the company remove parked cars near the intersection of Broad Street and Washington Avenue every morning as he sips coffee at his window.

Norman believes the towing company has set up a trap to bait cars into parking. He said someone from the towing company will park a truck (the white pickup seen in the video) and use it to bait drivers into believing they, too, can park there. After a car is parked, Norman said a George Smith employee gets out of a tow truck and removes the pickup so that a second employee can pull into the now-empty spot and remove the car.

Norman says that’s exactly what happened to the Mercedes (ouch) in the video below:

It’s not clear whether or not parking is actually allowed in this location. There is a no-parking sign from the George Smith towing company, but Norman said it moves during the day – sometimes it’s up and visible, other times it’s knocked down. Usually, he says, it’s down during the day and up at night or when a car is getting towed.

Norman’s video now has 133,000 views, more than 2,000 shares and 300 comments, many from people who claim they’ve had similar experiences.

CBS 3 reported earlier this year that the District Attorney’s office is investigating some private towing companies in the city, though the office declined to comment or confirm or deny an investigation in May.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department confirmed that the Major Crimes Unit is investigating the incident recorded in the video.

An employee at George Smith Towing reached by phone today declined to comment. The company has received an F from the Better Business Bureau, and its site on Yellow Pages is littered with complaints.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.