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Report: Towing company owner got death threats after Gators' Joiner arrested

Updated: October 7, 2007, 9:12 AM ET

The owner of the towing company involved in Florida safety Tony Joiner's burglary case said Saturday he received more than 200 threatening phone calls.

More than a dozen of the calls were death threats and others were bomb threats, Stan Forron told Florida Today. Several callers even offered to pay the $76 towing bill if Forron would drop the charge.

"I'm just glad it wasn't Tim Tebow, that's all I can say," Forron told the newspaper. "I think I would be covered in 10 feet of concrete right now if it had been Tebow."

Joiner was arrested around 5 a.m. Tuesday for allegedly trying to take his girlfriend's car out of the towing company's impound lot.

The State Attorney's Office dropped the charge Friday at Forron's request.

Although Forron, who acknowledged his allegiance to the Gators, said he wanted the charge dropped from the beginning, he never expected the reaction he got from Florida fans.

"I've been in the [towing business] since '77 and I've never seen anything like it," he told Florida Today. "The fans are very passionate. I think that's a big part of it. ... I'm disappointed that people could be like that. I realize how passionate people can be. But it's disappointing that they would threaten lives and property over something like this."

According to Gainesville Police, Joiner pushed open an electric gate, got into the car and started to drive off. When Joiner stopped to close the gate, he was confronted by a witness who called police.

Shortly after Joiner's arrest, Forron said the player had arranged to pay the bill and pick up the car. But Forron said no one was around to take Joiner's money, so he must have thought it was OK to take the car and settle up later.

"He was a perfect gentleman," Forron said. "That had a big influence on why I wanted [the charge dropped]. If he had been yelling and screaming, they wouldn't have been dropped."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press


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