Did Zech McPhearson Have His Car Stolen or Did He Get The Dreaded Courtesy Tow?

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Come on people, we can’t be stealing the Week 1 NFC Special Teams Player of the Week’s car. Zech McPhearson tweeted and deleted that someone stole his car Thursday morning:

You gotta wonder why the tweet was deleted. Was it actually stolen? Did he just forget where he parked? Or do you think it got courtesy towed because Zech parked in one of those temporary police regulation zones you see all around Philly? –

I’m thinking door #3. Courtesy tows blow! You go through a lot of different emotions when you come out and find your car isn’t where you left it. First, you think your car was stolen. Second, you see the sign. Third, the car could be anywhere within a four to five block radius or sometimes farther. You can call the police because they’re supposed to have a log, but half the time they don’t know where the hell they took your car. So you’re just aimlessly pressing the panic button until you hear it. I remember one time waiting an hour for a cop to come and take me around the neighborhood because my car wasn’t in the radius.

During the filming of Hustle, the courtesy tow claimed some more victims. Supposedly the production company used some underground towing company no one ever heard of that doesn’t even have a building or a phone number that works. That’s the most Philly thing ever:

In Layne’s case, he reached out to police in the 3rd District in early October and was told that his car had been towed to make room for crews filming Sandler’s Hustle, the Netflix basketball movie.

Police say the film’s production company hired a business called Greater Philadelphia Towing, which apparently stashed the cars at Wing Phat Plaza on Washington Avenue.

Police, starting at 1 a.m., began ticketing cars at the plaza for unauthorized parking. George Smith Towing, which the plaza uses to deal with illegally parked cars there, towed and impounded them

When Layne sought answers from police again this month, they blamed Greater Philadelphia Towing. “They should be responsible because they moved your vehicle from a legal spot to an illegal spot,” a 3rd District police officer emailed Layne.

Layne has been unable to reach Greater Philadelphia Towing. Not for lack of trying.

The company’s phone number goes to a voicemail inbox that is full, and no one responded to an Inquirer text message sent to that number.

The address listed on the company’s Instagram page ― which features recent videos of cars being towed with the hashtag #MoneyOnDaRoad — is an unmarked brick building in East Germantown. A neighbor said he believes it is unoccupied.

Sometimes not all courtesy tows end up bad. This guy got towed from a legal parking spot to an illegal parking spot and racked up $400 in tickets. He then sued the city and won $15,000:

Allen had his car courtesy towed twice in 2020. Both times, no one in the city had any idea where it was dropped off.

“What an insane program,” he said.

The first time, Allen eventually “got lucky” and stumbled upon his car about a mile away. No tickets.

The second time, however, it was relocated to a street behind the Wawa on Delaware Avenue where it racked up about $400 in tickets.

Allen ended up paying the money. He didn’t know who’d towed his car. How could he prove he hadn’t parked there?

“I tried to fight the tickets, but I didn’t have proof it was towed,” Allen said. “It’s almost like a shadow industry. It feels like you’re getting bullied, to be honest.”

But here’s where Allen’s experience takes a sharp turn from the typical courtesy-tow horror story:

The city just offered him $15,000. He fought the system and won.

What a win for the little guy! Lew Blum and his parking cronies can kick rocks.