“I was kind of freaking out:” Rude awakening for many in Milwaukee who discovered their vehicle was towed

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A foot of snow fell at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee -- beginning Saturday night, January 31st and continuing through Sunday night, February 1st -- and all that snow meant the "Four-Inch Rule" was in effect in Milwaukee. No parking was allowed on either side of the street in areas where signs are posted reading "No Parking When Snow Falls 4 Inches or More." Those that didn't comply with that rule had a rude awakening Monday morning when they discovered their vehicle had been towed.

It wasn't a great way to start the week for those who woke up Monday and discovered their vehicle wasn't where they left it.

Chris Schoembeck and his son, Troy spent a chunk of their Monday at Milwaukee's tow lot.

"Troy was on the East Side," Chris Schoembeck said.

"I was kind of freaking out -- thinking that someone stole my car," Troy Schoembeck said.

Troy's vehicle wasn't stolen. It had been towed.

"Called the company -- called the tow lot to see if it was there," Troy Schoembeck said.

The vehicle was located, and at the tow lot, they discovered it was all a mistake.

"It was a mistake. It was a mistakenly towed. No ticket. Apparently one of the contractors, one of the towing contractors for the city, hooked it up and brought it down here," Chris Schoembeck said.

All it cost this father and son on Monday at the tow lot was time -- and a lot of it.

"It's painfully slow. Painfully slow," Chris Schoembeck said.

Katie Mastoris lives on Brady Street. She admits she parked in the wrong spot during a snow emergency -- and wasn't the only one. Luckily, she had a few friends keeping her company as she waited at the tow lot.

Mastoris says it'll cost $100 to get her car back.

Lauren McNelly lives on the city's East Side. She says parking was at a premium Sunday night.

"I came home after the Super Bowl and I just went around and around.  There was nothing. This morning I woke up and the car wasn't there," McNelly said.

If your vehicle was towed during this weekend's storm, it's important to note the tow lot closes at 6:00 p.m. during the week, though workers stayed late Monday to accommodate everyone who had a number by 6. It reopens at 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.

The tow lot is located at 3811 West Lincoln Avenue in Milwaukee.

The snow emergency and Four-Inch Rule remain in effect through Tuesday, February 3rd and Wednesday, February 4th to allow for continued snow cleanup.

DPW officials have also planned an overnight snow removal operation in the 5-Day Parking Exception Area on Tuesday and Wednesday.

All residents in this area must move their vehicles to the correct side of the street by 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 3rd (even numbered side of the street). This will help ensure that DPW crews can access as much of the street pavement as possible to remove ice and snow effectively, efficiently, and most importantly, safely.

Once the area streets have been plowed, DPW will notify residents again that the operation has concluded and overnight parking is once again permitted on both sides of the street, until the next operation is called.

Residents are reminded to read the street signs on their block and in their neighborhoods for winter parking instructions. The posted street sign takes precedence in all areas of the city.

CLICK HERE for further information on vehicle towing in the city of Milwaukee, including how to reclaim a towed vehicle via the Milwaukee Department of Public Works.


  • Michael

    Imagine of you will. Tom Varretts Street Car, and the Fiasco it will be on days like this? LOL.You get the government you ask for, and you sure have got it Milwaukee. Taking money from hard working people in this way. Well it’s what Demorat’s do, and it’s what Milwaukee asked for. I mean who’d want to live there anymore?

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  • AM

    Here’s the thing. At my apartment its “park in the parking lot when there’s a lot of snow, you will get towed.” And then after we move the car its “Park on the street when there’s a lot of snow, you will get towed.” It’s a messy catch-22 and I think that’s what one of the problems was.

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