KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was 2 a.m. and Drenda Slayden had just come home from work. She immediately noticed a tow truck in the parking lot of her east Kansas City apartment complex. She remembered asking the driver "is everything okay?"
She said he assured her he wasn't looking for her car, but three seconds later, Slayden's car was being towed away.
"'Hey, hey, put my car down,'" she remembered yelling. "He just laughed at me and kept going."
Slayden had become the latest victim of a Kansas City tow truck operator who prosecutors say is towing cars illegally and then charging owners hundreds of dollars to get them back.
Kansas City police arrested tow lot owner Jay Bloodworth for auto theft, accusing him of stealing not only Slayden's car but the cars of two other residents in her complex Blue Valley Town Homes.
Bloodworth's tow operation operates from 31st Street and goes by the names Private Party Impound and Lender's Recovery. Bloodworth heads to court next month on three felony charges. Bloodworth told FOX 4 Problem Solvers that the charges are all a misunderstanding, and that he had a contract with the apartment complex to tow the cars. But, so far, no one has seen a contract and a spokeswoman for the complex told us no contract exists.
You don't have to live in that apartment complex to be a victim of Bloodworth's. We found two other businesses where Bloodworth's tow signs are posted, although he has no contract to tow there.
Bloodworth's signs are also posted at Union Station. He does have a contract to tow there, although one man had such a hard time getting his car back after being towed he was forced to call police.
FOX 4 Problem Solvers have been following Bloodworth's business practices for four years. The first time we met him he was accused of towing cars from spots where people said they had paid to park. Bloodworth again maintained his innocence. But, at our insistence, he did give one woman her money back.
In 2015, Bloodworth was accused of forcing an elderly car lot owner out of business by towing all his cars and refusing to give most of them back. Again, he denied any wrong doing.
But now, facing car theft charges, Blooworth will no longer be able to just spout denials on television. He'll have to tell his story to a judge and a jury. They can decide whether Bloodworth is as innocent as he claims.