SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – The owner of an Upstate towing company has been charged with kidnapping after a confrontation with another towing company on I-26 Wednesday night.
Spartanburg County deputies responded to I-26 Wednesday night to an incident involving multiple wreckers.
“He had three towing trucks that were in Asheville, North Carolina. And, last night, he received a GPS alert that the trucks were moving down I-26, heading back to Spartanburg. Knowing his trucks weren’t in use at that time, he went to investigate,” the attorney representing Christopher Cole said in a bond hearing on Thursday.
According to an incident report, another towing company was attempting to repossess some of Christopher Cole’s towing trucks.
“Your honor, we haven’t seen any orders of repossession,” Cole’s attorney said. “The lead ringleader of the ones repossessing his truck is a former disgruntled employee of Mr. Cole’s.”
According to an incident report, Cole met the trucks near mile marker 17 in the eastbound lanes of I-26 and ran two of them off the road and into a ditch.
The report says he then tried to pick up one of the tow company’s trucks with his snatch truck to prevent them from leaving, causing damage to the vehicle.
The report says Cole then got out of his vehicle and pulled out a gun.
“It is a miracle that nobody got seriously hurt or even killed,” Lt. Kevin Bobo, with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Cole has since been charged with pointing and presenting a firearm, unlawful carry, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, malicious damage to personal property, and kidnapping.
“Your honor, I submit it’s a gross overcharge based on my understanding of the facts,” Cole’s attorney said.
These aren’t the first charges on Cole’s record. The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said they dealt with Cole frequently back in 2018, when he owned “Cole’s Towing.”
“Towing cars for unlawful reasons and then charging very high fees for people to get their cars back,” Lt. Bobo said.
Now, he runs a company under the name “Affliction Towing,” and the sheriff’s office said they had five similar reports involving Cole just last month.
“The way he conducts business casts a bad light on that profession as a whole,” Bobo said. “In my 33 years at the sheriff’s office, I cannot think of any towing company that we’ve had this many complaints on as we’ve had with his towing company.”
For the most recent case on I-26, a few victims were at Cole’s bond hearing and requested the highest bond.
“I want no contact with him, and whichever bond would be the best to where he could stay away from our company,” one victim said.
The judge gave Cole a $2,000 personal recognizance bond for the malicious injury to personal property charge. He gave him a cash surety bond of $26,000 for all the other charges.
The judge ordered that Cole be placed on home detention and GPS monitoring.
Cole is to have no direct or indirect contact with the victims or companies involved, and he cannot possess a firearm.
Cole’s next court appearance will be on August 19th at 9:00 a.m.