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SAN DIEGO – Dockless scooter companies Lime and Bird are suing a local company that tows scooters left on private property, claiming that it is illegally taking their property and holding it for “ransom.”

Scooter Removal was founded earlier this year by San Diego entrepreneurs Dan Borelli and John Heinkel, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday. People can call the company to request a pickup. When Scooter Removal arrives, the reporting party signs a tow authorization and the company removes the scooter or dockless bicycle. It then charges the scooter companies to get their property back.

The scooter companies claim Scooter Removal is breaking the law in a scheme to make money from them. The companies allege the tow service is committing civil theft, among other violations, the Union-Tribune reported.

“In an attempt to improperly capitalize on Lime’s service to the San Diego community, defendants have developed an unlawful scheme of illegally impounding bikes and e-scooters … and demanding ransom for their return,” according to Lime’s complaint.

Borelli told the Union-Tribune that his company denies all of the allegations in the lawsuit and plans to countersue the scooter companies.

Read more in San Diego Union-Tribune.