After wheels stolen from car, couple gets parking ticket

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"They just came, ripped off the wheels and took off," says Dan Dow of San Francisco

Dow's 2016 Toyota Corolla was left on milk crates after a thief or thieves stole all the wheels from his car, which was parked at 17th and Cabrillo in San Francisco's Richmond District.

His wife Kristan Dow said, "All four the tires have been completely removed, and they were sitting on black milk crates."

And less than an hour later, they found a $79 parking ticket on the windshield - for not moving the car for street sweeping. 

"I was livid. I was completely livid when I walked outside," Kristan Dow said. "So it was kind of a slap in the face to an already horrible morning."

A meter reader with San Francisco's Department of Parking and Traffic ticketed the car as the couple was on the phone with police and their insurance company.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) later in the evening responded to our reporter Henry Lee and said that they now had the necessary details and documentation to dismiss the citation. But the couple was already fuming.  

"He has discretion to not write a ticket," Dan Dow said. "He could walk by, and do I have to be, like, dead in the driver's seat with the registration pinned to my chest? Is that a reason to walk by the car and not give it a ticket?" 

He says the meter reader would not have mistaken his car as some mechanic's project.

"This isn't a 1965 Studebaker that's in somebody's front yard that they're working on. This is a Toyota Corolla. Nobody leaves a car like this sitting on milk crates on the street."

San Francisco Toyota lent the family four wheels so that the tow truck driver could bring it to the shop without damaging their car even further.

The repair job will cost more than $5,000. The family will pay the $1,000 deductible. 

"It's not just the wheels, because a wheel on a car has a lot of stuff in it nowadays," said Dan Dow, including sensors.

But it's not the repairs he's angry about. 

"I'm more upset about the $79 ticket than the $1,000 that I have to pay for this car," he said.

SFMTA, which oversees parking and traffic, called this an "unfortunate situation" and said it empathizes with the family.

In a statement, the agency said,"They will however, have to contest the ticket and, with the proper documentation of when this occurred, the ticket will most likely be dismissed."

The family said there was nothing special about the tires, there was no "bling" on the rims. They say be will be fighting this ticket. They just hope justice turns in their favor.