MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A business parking lot on Old Fort Parkway has become a battlefield between drivers and an armed volunteer who has been known to call a tow truck minutes after someone illegally parks.
"Let me tell you, when you've got a four-year-old and you’re toting a gym bag and trying to get into a building, you're not reading signs," one woman said.
She said her car was one of a handful of vehicles towed the day before as she was trying to get to the gym.
"I'm like ok, well I apologize, I'll move my car. I didn't realize I was illegally parked. They said we can't do that, we're already here , we have to tow your car," she said.
The job cost her and every other driver who was towed $185.
There have been signs on either side of the parking lot that state the lot is a no parking area, unfortunately the majority of people who have been towed were clients at the neighboring Gold's Gym.
"That is not our deal. We are not personally trying to tow cars or make it difficult," said gym manager, Kat Winn.
What may be adding to the difficulty has been the fact the volunteer has been armed and not afraid to show it.
"It’s kind of to the extreme. Firearms and everything, I agree with that too but coming up to your car, kind of intimidating members, especially the new ones, the new mothers. It’s reflecting really poorly on Gold's Gym," Winn said.
The volunteer told News Channel 5 he began guarding the nearby military recruitment centers after the attack in Chattanooga. Afterwards he said the property manager gave him permission to deal with the parking problem, and so he has nearly every day for the past several weeks.
"I just want to find proof that he actually has the right to do that," said one driver.
At this time Murfreesboro police said they do not believe any laws were broken but they have been working with the property owner to find a resolution, which may mean the armed volunteer has to go.
"No disrespect against him but I think it's a little extreme," Winn said.
Police believed a misunderstanding may have led to the situation; they're working with the property owner to refund some of the drivers.