AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police need your help finding a suspect who is illegally booting cars on Guadalupe in the Spider House Lounge parking lot.
The suspect, William Wade Brugier, owns the snow cone stand Wacky Wade’s Wicked World of Snowballs, on 2915 Guadalupe. Police believe he targeted multiple cars on Sept. 30 after a victim came forward. There could be six additional victims out there who were targeted, but so far no one else has talked to police.
“It could have been happening way before that and that’s why, hopefully we get more people [to] come forward,” said Officer Ivan Ramos, with the Public Information Office at the Austin Police Department.
The victim told police he had to pay Brugier $150 in cash to get a boot taken off of his car. Investigators say the snow cone owner does not have a Texas Booting License, and failed to put a sign in place stating the parking restrictions.
Additionally, officers say the cash transaction between Brugier and the victim was illegal. Licensed booters are required to accept any form of payment to remove boots. Not only did Brugier not have a license, he was not authorized to accept cash payments and did not give the victim a receipt.
Requesting the payment be made in cash only is another red flag, according to police.
“They are required by law to give a receipt of the actual payment to the person whose vehicle was booted,” said Ramos.
Ramos said if anyone has a question about a booter’s legitimacy to call police. “Call 911. We’ll come out, make sure that this is a legit person that is actually booting the vehicle,” Ramos added.
On the Wacky Wade’s Wicked World of Snowballs Facebook page it says the snow cone stand has parking available on the street and in the parking lot. At last check Friday night, the business was listed as “Permanently Closed.”
Brugier reached out to KXAN and said he had permission from the owner of the parking lot to boot cars that were not supposed to be parked there.
“Conrad (owner of lot) also instructed me to verbally warn everyone that parked illegally that this was parking for Spider House,” Brugier said.
Brugier said the money he obtained was handed over to Conrad Bejarano, the owner of the lot. He said it was not until after the police had been called that Bejarano told Brugier they need a license from the state in order to legally boot vehicles.
“Had I known this was illegal I would not have done it, especially out of my business that has my name on it,” Brugier said.
According to state records, Wicked Snowballs, LLC was formed as a Limited Liability Company and filed with the Secretary of State’s Office in July 2016.
Investigators ask that anyone else who thinks they may have been illegally booted to come forward. You can call the APD Wrecker Enforcement Unit at 512-974-8132.
Proper signage must be posted at every single entrance to a private lot. That signage must have the required information and in the required color.
According to the towing and booting occupations code, signs must have the international towing symbol along with the type of enforcement, either towing or booting, at the top of the sign in white letters on a red background. The middle of the sign should include who is allowed to park in the lot, a statement that unauthorized vehicles will be towed. The bottom of the sign must state the days and hours of enforcement. The tow company’s phone number must also be included.
Missing information or information detailed in the wrong letter color could make towing from the lot illegal.
If a vehicle owner sees their car being towed, they can ask the tow truck driver to “drop” their vehicle. The tow company must do so and if the vehicle is not completely mounted onto the truck, they must drop the vehicle free of charge. Once the vehicle is completely mounted onto the tow truck, the vehicle owner can still ask the tow company to drop the vehicle and they must do so, but they would be able to charge a drop fee. A vehicle is considered completely mounted once a driver needs only to get in the tow truck and drive off the lot.
Once the tow truck driver has left the private lot with the vehicle, the vehicle owner can no longer ask them to drop it.
Drop fees cannot exceed one-half the standard tow charge set by municipalities. The maximum tow charge allowed by state law is $250.