Owner of Advantage Towing, apartment manager arrested
Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7:11 p.m.
The co-owner of a Gainesville towing company and an apartment manager were charged Friday afternoon with grand theft involving the theft and illegal towing of two scooters.
The Gainesville Police Department charged Stan Forron, 48, on allegations he recovered two scooters taken by the property manager, staged them as if they were parked illegally, photographed them, towed them and called them in as abandoned, said Gainesville police Officer Jeff McAdams.
"They staged a tow that wasn't a tow and called it in to law enforcement as a legitimate tow when it wasn't a legitimate tow," McAdams said.
Forron is the owner of Ultimate Towing, which was banned by the city from removing illegally parked cars in Gainesville for six months several years ago for violation of the city's roam towing ordinances.
Forron's wife, Susan Forron, started Advantage Towing in May 2011, and Ultimate Towing's assets were turned over to the new company.
Advantage created a controversy a year ago when it towed numerous vehicles from the SunTrust Bank parking lot in downtown Gainesville during the Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival the weekend of April 6-7, 2013. The city of Gainesville, which regulates roam towing, issued 10 citations to Advantage, which had a towing contract with SunTrust that had yet to go into effect.
McAdams said the scooter incident occurred in March 2013 at the Canopy apartment complex at 4400 SW 20th Ave. Manager Bonnalyn Beth Lachut, 67, is accused of taking two scooters to her home. She told police that she believed residents had abandoned them when they were done with college.
The scooters were reported stolen to GPD, McAdams said. Lachut learned of that a few days later.
"She contacts Stan Forron and says, ‘Hey, I need help to do something with these scooters.' He volunteered to have his employees recover the scooters," McAdams said. "They drove them back to Canopy apartments, dropped them off and parked them as if they were illegally parked and photographed them. They loaded them back on the tow truck, took them to the tow yard and called them in as abandoned scooters."
Lachut's attorney, David Salter, told The Sun that scooter parking areas at the Canopy were getting full and Lachut was trying to figure out a way to clear them out.
Forron checked them, and 13 were found to have expired tags. Forron had planned to come back and take all 13 as abandoned, issue a public notice and auction those that were not claimed.
"She was waiting for him to do that and was planning to buy some from him. I don't think she understood the whole process and at some point she and her husband picked up two of the expired scooters that were going to be picked up fully thinking they were abandoned scooters," Salter said. "She just made an honest mistake knowing full well this company was going to take these scooters away. I don't think the whole process was explained fully to her by Stan."
Salter said all 13 scooters were eventually towed, and 10 were never claimed.
Forron was charged with grand theft and tampering with evidence. Lachut was charged with grand theft. A tow company employee who helped recover the scooters, Rennie Thomas, 49, was charged with grand theft and tampering with evidence.