Police: Thieves using tow truck companies to steal cars
NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -
There's a new way to steal cars and it's becoming popular here in the Tri-County area.
Criminals are taking advantage of a loop hole in motor-vehicle laws involving tow trucks.
Sergeant Corey Holt with the North Charleston Police Department says these car thieves are using tow truck companies to illegally relocate vehicles.
Investigators say this has happened six times over the past four months in the Tri-County area. The most recent theft was two weeks ago at Northwoods Mall in North Charleston.
According to the police report, an orange Chevy Camaro was towed from the mall parking lot to Eutawville nearly 45 minutes away.
Holt says an unknown person called to have the car picked up. They gave a description of the vehicle, the tag number and the location. Holt says the tow truck driver was met by a man and two women who didn't own the car. They paid the towing cost and took the car.
He says this can happen to anyone.
The report states Action Transport and Towing picked up the Camaro.
The manager did not want to go on-camera for a comment. Holt says right now the company isn't facing any charges.
"We have nothing to charge the tow company with and nothing that we can prove that the tow company had any ill intentions of stealing this vehicle," said Holt.
Holt says there are no rules requiring tow truck drivers to check proof of ownership or even ask for identification when picking up and dropping off a car.
Holt says tow truck drivers only have to file a report with authorities in cases where a car is repossessed, abandoned or on private property.
"The only thing that's really going to help with this is to make it tougher for them to be able to do this. Show verification and whenever they drop a vehicle off, prove that that's your vehicle," said Holt.
Police say the tow truck drivers are usually met by several younger male and females who pay the towing cost.
Different tow companies are involved with each of the six cases.
Investigators say four 2010 Camaros and two classic-modeled cars have been stolen.
North Charleston investigators say they are working on leads with law enforcement in surrounding counties.
If you have any information on these car thefts, you're asked call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.