Pat's Towing Service hauls about twenty cars a day from streets and parking lots around the University at the request of the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).
The service tows most of the cars during the day in response to specific complaints. But many cars are taken during the early morning when service employees sweep specific streets under police supervision.
"The Eliot triangle, Cowperthwaite St., the Business School lots, and the lots off Oxford St. are towed the most," Ronald T. Megan, dispatcher for the service said yesterday.
The University does not receive any of the $14 that owners must pay to Pat's to retreive their cars.
David L. Gorski, chief of University police, said yesterday, "most of the cars towed are not registered with the University.
"They wouldn't pay a ticket and we wouldn't be able to find them," he said.
Many students don't register their cars with the University police, despite a $25 fine for not doing so.
Students who register their cars with the University are not permitted to park overnight on the Cambridge streets.
Cars registered with the police are less likely to be towed, though. If a complaint is lodged against a car the police try to locate the owner before calling Pat's , John M. Francis, director of towing for HUPD, said yesterday.
The University police are also more lenient with University-affiliated cars that are parked illegally but are not blocking a fireplug or firelane. "We only tow those if they are flagrant or repeating offenders," Gorski said.
Pat's Towing Service is used almost exclusively by the University police because the service is "the most reliable, honest, and dependable tow service in Cambridge," Francis said.
"We had complaints about theft and harrassment with some other companies, but we've heard nothing about Pat's," he said.
Some students do complain about their missing cars, but most take it in stride. "I gambled and didn't make it," Christopher L. Taylor '76-3, whose car was towed Sunday night, said yesterday.