GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJLA) - If you're heading to the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair this week, make sure you stay away from the strip mall parking lot across from the fairgrounds.
ABC 7 News has received complaints that, unlike in years past, people are being towed from the parking lot across the way. Though many fairgoers are taken aback by the sudden rule enforcement, the towing company is within its rights to take off with your car.
On Monday, ABC 7 News saw several people park outside the Burlington Coat Factory shopping center in Gaithersburg, but instead of heading into the store, they walked off the lot to the fair.
Glenn Cade owns G&G Towing, a business now under fire for doing what Cade says it was hired to do.
"The sign says right away, 'If you leave here, you're gonna be towed,'" Cade said.
According to fairgoers, it was well known that you could park in the lot without penalty. But this year things are different; you can't park and walk off the private property to attend the fair.
Cade says the lot's property manager decided it was time to enforce the rules, using photographic evidence.
"The reason he's doing that is, if you could see his lot, it's completely trashed up," Cade said.
The buildup of trash on the lot is evident.
ABC 7 News received a number of emails from fairgoers who were upset, saying they parked in the lot over the weekend, did some shopping at the nearby stores, and then walked over to the fair. Once back at the lot, they discovered their cars had been towed away, costing them $144 each to get their vehicles out of impound.
"People have to take responsibility," Cade said. "They have to read the signs."
Now, there are more signs than ever, informing the public of the risks they face if they park and walk. Cade says even though the property is within its right to tow as soon as you take your toes off the property, there has been some wiggle room.
"Fortunately, this manager is just compassionate; he gives people two hours in case they are going to walk down to the fair and come back," Cade said.
There is designated fair parking at Lakeforest Mall, where there is no risk of towing.