Montgomery City Councilman Furious Over Inspector's Move To Tow Away 'Junk' Cars

Montgomery City Councilman Tracy Larkin
Montgomery City Councilman Tracy Larkin

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It happened in the dark of night on Luverne Street Wednesday night.

"I have a real problem with what's taking place here tonight," said Montgomery City Councilman Tracy Larkin.

Councilman Larkin was visibly upset Wednesday night when a city inspector brought in not one but several tow trucks and removed what he considered 'junk' cars from Stanley Shorter's backyard.

"These were vintage cars, not junk cars. They all had license tags and were operational," said Larkin.

The cars appeared to be in good shape. A neighbor reportedly complained to the city but Councilman Larkin isn't buying it.

"They were not visible from the street. No way this could be justified," Larkin said.

Today, 24 hours after tow trucks hauled off 11 cars, Stanley Shorter says what happened was simply wrong.

"Each one ran. Each one had current tags. I had '91 Caprice, a wagon and Sedan," Shorter said.

And now an internal investigation.

"We're trying to get all sides of the story explained," said Jeff Downes, Executive Assistant to the Mayor.

According to the city ordinance, 'junk' is considered a nuisance if the vehicle does not operate.. has flat tires with no current tag.

Councilman Larkin says what really ticked him off is the inspector assured him he would not move on the case until there was a more thorough investigation.

"It's an egregious abuse of power, and why in the middle of the night?" said Larkin.

So far the city's inspections division has not returned calls from WSFA 12 News to give their side of the story. For now Stanley Shorter's backyard is mostly empty; no cars to restore and sell, all locked up at a  Montgomery towing company.

"This was not a car lot. It was a private collection of cars I like," Shorter said.

Stanley Shorter could get his 11 cars back but it will cost him, anywhere from $60.00 to $90.00 per car.

Jeff Downes, meantime, says the investigation will take about a week. Right now the inspector in question is still on the payroll.