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Woman says Rokaitis Towing took her car from Chicago Ridge Mall parking lot with no warning

Suburban mom says her van was towed from mall without warning
Suburban mom says her van was towed from mall without warning 02:18

CHICAGO RIDGE, Ill. (CBS) -- We're keeping our eyes peeled for even more fraudulent towing operations.

As CBS 2's Sabrina Franza reported Monday, another company now seems to be snatching cars out of the lot at the Chicago Ridge Mall.

"Literally got out and we saw it happen," said Jocelyn Gutierrez.

Gutierrez was leaving the Buffalo Wild Wings at the Chicago Ridge Mall after a Saturday night dinner with her husband, her son, and her son's soccer team – only to watch her car getting towed out of the lot.

"Clicking the panic button – like trying to get to him - and he just hooked it up and left," Gutierrez said.

She could not understand why her car was towed. The Buffalo Wild Wings was still open for another half hour or so.

"My husband seen it first and he was all like, 'Whoop, there goes your van,'" Gutierrez said, "and I thought he was joking around with me."

It turned out Rokaitis Towing took her car to their lot. CBS 2 uncovered that Rokaitis Towing does have a valid towing license for parking lots – but also has three Illinois Commerce Commission citations and 92 complaints – all but two of which are regarding an illegal tow.

The City of Chicago issued the company a cease-and-desist order in May of last year for operating without a storage lot license.

"Prior to meeting my husband, I was a single mom working paycheck to paycheck," Gutierrez said. "If this would've happened when it was just me and my son, I would have never been able to get my car."

Rokaitis told Gutierrez that their fee of $218.50 would double if she did not pick up her car by midnight that night.

In the days after, Gutierrez and her husband went looking for any warning signs about possible towing near where they were parked. There were no such signs in the aisles where they had left their car.

"(I said), 'May I ask why you towed my vehicle?' And he said, 'Well, there's no parking after hours,'" Gutierrez said, "and I said" 'Well I just got out of Buffalo Wild Wings - we were eating there. I have a receipt that says we just got out of there.'"

We checked. There was only one sign mentioning Roktaitis Towing in the lot. It was near the entrance – far away from where Gutierrez parked – and it does not mention a time restriction.

Rokaitis hung up on us when we asked for comment.

Sources tell us that because part of the Chicago Ridge Mall lot belongs to an empty and privately-owned storefront, a portion of it exists in a gray area in which the Village of Chicago Ridge cannot put towing signs.

The village said their attorney is in talks with the mall to try to "understand" the situation.

"It's the point that there's nothing notifying us that we can't park here," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez is calling for proper signage so this cannot happen to the next person.

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