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City Tows Cars Without Notice from Storm-Damaged Areas

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Overturned cars in Far Rockaway, Queens after Sandy. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Some New Yorkers say their cars are being towed from Sandy-affected areas without warning, and the city confirms, it’s true.

John McCarthy, a spokesman at City Hall, said a task force is moving some cars and boats from public roadways, as it works to get rid of more than 300,000 tons of storm debris. He said the city has set up a hotline for people to track down cars missing from storm-damaged zones. The number is (800) 244-5094.

Denise Carrerra of Coney Island was not aware of the hotline when she discovered her 1992 Toyota Corolla missing Tuesday night. She said a police officer told her the city has contracted with several tow companies to remove cars.

“My issue was that why wasn't I told? Why wasn't it on the news?” said Carrerra. “I know I'm not the only one because last night I saw tons of tow trucks.”

McCarthy said the vehicles are being relocated so that they do not interfere with debris removal and street cleaning operations. He said individuals who call the hotline can find out if a missing car was towed as part of the city’s debris removal operation. The call taker can provide information about the status of a vehicle, its location and other information.

If a vehicle owner had transferred a title to an insurance company already, the company would claim the vehicle. McCarthy said most cars that were removed from Sandy-damaged areas are claimed by insurance carriers.

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