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Rogue tow truck drivers steal vehicles for cash.

Posted in Misc Crime December 17th, 2008 @ 10:45 am

Perhaps one of the worst possible thing that can happen to you is to have your car towed away. You have to retrieve the car and pay a hefty fine. However, In Cleveland, Ohio some of the cars that were towed away were not in any violation, but were actually stolen by rogue tow truck drivers. These tow truck drivers stole unattended or disabled vehicles and sold them for scrap metal.

Between December 2007 and mid-October, the police couldn’t do anything about it. They were under instructions from the City Law Department not to enforce a law that gave police the power to stop tow truck drivers at any time in order to see the paperwork authorizing a tow. These rogue tow truck drivers would steal a car and immediately take it to a scrap metal yard for money.

Even though Ohio law as well as other states requires a vehicle’s title before scrapping, many scrap yards and tow truck operators dealing in stolen cars didn’t play by the rules. That is why the police needed to have the power to stop the tow truck drivers and verify paperwork. Instead, during this period in time, auto theft investigators had to conduct searches at scrap yards after the cars were crushed. Several times a month investigators would search through smashed cars for vehicle identification numbers. About one in ten trips turned up a vehicle identification number from a stolen car.

Finally, city officials reversed course last October and told police to resume enforcing the local rules that allows them to stop tow truck drivers and check for the proper paperwork. Now police have a way to stop rogue tow truck drivers from stealing vehicles for cash.

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