Reno police and city officials are investigating car booting companies after numerous complaints of employees demanding cash and other alleged ordinance violations.
Last month, employees at Sierra Booting and Telesis Parking Solutions were cited for failing to follow numerous municipal codes when using clamps, known as boots, to disable a wheel, officers said.
Sgt. Chris Lang said his office has investigated at least five complaints against Telesis Parking Solutions and Sierra Booting. A meeting is scheduled for the end of May with city officials to discuss the Telesis complaints and how they affect the company's
business license, Lang said.
"We find these businesses who are governed by both the licensing department and Reno municipal codes are not really meeting the guidelines and requirements based on the number of complaints we get," Lang said.
One woman complained that a Telesis employee confronted her wearing a bulletproof vest, a gun on his hip, and demanded $90 cash to "unboot" her car, officials said. He then put the boot on her friend's car, until she returned with the money.
Sierra Booting employees were cited last month for disabling a pizza delivery vehicle minutes after the driver parked to make a delivery. They are accused of threatening to tow his car if they weren't paid $90. Officers said they found guns inside the employees' car and said the employees refused to identify themselves.
Sierra Booting owner David A. Launay said he fired the two employees recently cited, as well as another employee, when he heard about the incident.
"I've worked too damn hard to build this company and to have a good rapport with the police and the city attorney's office," Launay told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "I'm not about to have it jeopardized by shenanigans like this."
Telesis owner Paula Lawrence also said some of the employees in question no longer work for her company.
Police said some booting employees are carrying visible firearms and seem to be randomly patrolling areas. City ordinances say booters cannot be on random patrol in the downtown corridor, and a business owner or representative must call them about a vehicle in violation.
In apartment complexes, signs must be posted that booters are on patrol in the parking lot. This practice helps to prevent abandoned vehicles and those of nonresidents taking residents' parking spaces.