Sounds like the cops have quite a nice organized crime operation going in Philadephia. They are towing cars from legally parked spots and placing them in spots where it's not legal to park them. Then they impound the car and tell the owner if they don't pay them an exorbitant fine, they'll sell it and keep the money. My question is why don't the cops just steal any car they like and sell it? That seems much more efficient.
Drivers who get sucked into the bureaucratic vortex describe it as city-sanctioned auto theft, often followed by punishing fines from the PPA if the car was moved to an illegal parking space, then ticketed, towed, or booted. The resulting fees can be difficult or impossible to fight.
Michael Ippolito, a graduate student at Jefferson, had to pay $500 to retrieve his Volkswagen after it was courtesy-towed from his legal parking space in Old City to an illegal spot, then ticketed four times by the PPA and impounded.
"They wouldn't give me any records of who towed it," said Ippolito, who finally got a refund a year later, in September, after threatening legal action. "It seems like they have a habit of stealing people's cars, then charging them a lot of money to get them back."
Ippolito said he is exploring the possibility of filing a class-action lawsuit.