ORANGE CITY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Orange County deputies say the owner of a tow truck company wrongly hauled away drivers' cars, and now, that suspect now faces 29 counts of grand theft auto. Jason Combs is also charged with violating 60 county ordinances.
There was not a word from 44-year-old Combs Friday as deputies towed him away in handcuffs. The Orange County Sheriff's Office says his ASAP Towing Company illegally removed dozens of cars, between June 5 and June 9, during Orlando's Gay Days event.
The Sheriff's Office discussed Combs' arrest at a news conference Friday. Corporal Rick Schmeltzer said, "If you read the affidavit, some of them felt they were intimated based on sexual orientation."
Detectives say Combs used look outs to help him tow cars from the West Wood Town Center off International Drive. The plaza is across the street from a hotel that was hosting Gay Days.
"He had people come up and place a sticker on your car and would immediately tow it. They would list that as abandonment tow, which is totally one-hundred percent false," Schmeltzer explained.
Detectives say Combs backdated a towing contract by two months, trying to cover his towing tracks. Investigators say he made $16,000 in four days, towing 100 vehicles without permission from businesses.
Investigators say almost all of the victims reported paying $165 to get their cars back, and they report paying a $44 gate fee. Detectives say that gate fee is an illegal charge.