Accusations fly in illegal car booting case

Both sides speak out over booting scam

AUSTIN - After KVUE reported about an illegal booting scam last week, more victims have come forward.

Police said William Wade Brugier was booting cars without a license at a lot located at 2915 Guadalupe in Central Austin. Michael Aldridge showed KVUE the interactions he recorded on his cell phone when he tried to get his money back. He had to pay $150 to get a boot off his car.

"Friday September 30, first day of ACL. I parked in the parking lot, ran into CVS to get some cheap sunglasses and then came out and my car was booted," Aldridge said.

Aldridge got the boot because he parked in this lot owned by a nearby business, I Luv Vintage, not CVS. Police said the person who booted Aldridge's car didn't have a license to do so. Now, there's a twist.

Detective Tom Ballard with Austin Police Department's Wrecker Enforcement Unit showed KVUE a discrepancy on a towing sign posted at the lot.

"It's inaccurate because Reliant Towing does not boot. They did not know booting was going on here," Ballard said.

This is where the story gets a little confusing. Police said Brugier operated a snow cone stand at the same parking lot. In a statement Brugier sent to KVUE and police, he stated that he was only trying to work off the rent from the snow cone stand by booting cars for the owner of I Luv Vintage. Conrad Bejarano, the owner of I Luv Vintage, denies the accusation.

"Parking has always been a problem here. Everybody, it's like CVS, everybody, oh, open parking lot and everyone kind of parks here and it crushes our business," said Bejarano.

Bejarano also own Spider House. He said he has been too busy getting his new store, I Luv Vintage, ready for its grand opening on Thursday and doesn't really know what's going on.

"I hired this towing booting company and that's all I know," said Bejarano.

This situation is one reason the Austin Police Department has developed a car booting ordinance. It is waiting on approval before heading to City Council.

The ordinance would limit how much companies can charge for removing car boots. So instead of $150, the maximum would be a lot lower. In San Antonio, a city ordinance caps it at $35.

As for Aldridge, the engineer hope the drivers who got booted the same day he did come forward.

"I just want to get my money back and I want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone again," said Aldridge.

He's now headed to justice of the court in hopes to getting some of his money back.

KVUE contacted Reliant Towing and have not heard back.

William Wade Brugier Statement by kvuenews on Scribd

(© 2016 KVUE)


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