Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A 23-year-old Portland man owed $70 in outstanding parking tickets. But by the end of Monday, he was on the hook for as much as $700 plus tow charges, car repairs and a theft charge after allegedly breaking a city parking "boot" then moving his car one block.
A parking control officer ticketed the 1993 green Audi on Monday afternoon, a fourth ticket, and put a boot on the car in front of 33 Grant St. for unpaid fines.
When the parking division worker returned at 6 p.m., the car was gone. He found it a block away at 71 Sherman St. minus the boot, with an undersized spare where the booted tire had been and with different license plates.
Police were unable to reach the registered owner and so had the car towed.
The city's parking division reached the registered owner Tuesday who put them in touch with her son, Jeremy Panish-Hoffman, who turned 23 on Monday and lives at 25 Grant St.
Confronted, Panish-Hoffman cooperated and produced the boot that was in his basement, sporting a two-inch cut from a hacksaw blade.
"He realized he acted impulsively and he had made a bad mistake," said Andy Martin, senior parking control officer. "Honestly, it's probably going to cost five or six times what it would have if he paid the tickets and boot fees."
Cars are eligible to have an immobilizer attached to the car if they have three unpaid parking tickets. Once it is attached, a car's owner must pay the outstanding tickets plus a $50 boot-removal fee.
Martin said they will check with the manufacturer of the boot to see if it can be repaired. He's still not sure how Panish-Hoffman got the boot off, though he could see damage to the underside of the car.
There was no word on the original tire and wheel which had the boot attached.