Tow Yard Owner Arrested After Stolen Cars, Parts Seized
Updated 06/27/13 – 10:54 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago police cleared out a West Englewood tow yard on Thursday, after allegedly finding stolen vehicles and parts being stored there.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports Chicago detectives and flatbed tow trucks have taken over Little Ray’s Towing in the 6400 block of South Bell Avenue. A police source said a search warrant was executed there at 8 p.m. Thursday, after a tracking device in a stolen car led officers to the yard.
After executing the search warrant, authorities seized as many as 105 vehicles – among them were at least 10 that police said had been stolen. The rest were being checked out at a city auto pound at 103rd Street and Doty Avenue.
Stolen tires, catalytic converters, engines, and other car parts also were found at the tow yard, according to police.
The lead investigator said the business was run out of a camper in the back lot.
Police arrested the owner, alleging he could provide legal titles for only seven of the vehicles on the entire lot, but the owner’s brother, Frank, said it’s a misunderstanding.
He was holding a stack of what he said were about 30 vehicle titles, and said they have titles for more.
“We can’t locate them, and my brother sits in jail. I don’t know where he put them at,” he told WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya.
Frank said it all started Thursday with a rental car that had been in an accident and brought to the storage yard. The car had a GPS tracking device, and allegedly had been stolen.
“We had it in front of the gate, in broad view where you could see the car. You know, if we really knew it had been stolen, don’t you think we would have had it hidden?” Frank said.
He said police have blown one stolen car out of proportion.
“We’re not chopping up no cars. This is just a business, a towing business. We store insured vehicles here. That’s what we do. We buy cars off of Craigslist. We junk cars. That’s it,” Frank said.
He said the cars without titles were being stored at the lot by insurance companies until they could be fixed.
“We had authorization to tow that car. We didn’t know they were stolen,” Frank said.
A source said more information on the storage yard raid could be released later in the day. The owner remained in custody Thursday morning, pending charges.