Dallas' Car Thieves Are Using Tow Trucks, and Police Are Cracking Down

Categories: Crime

TowTruckIllustration.jpg
Greg Houston
A couple of years ago, Dallas police officers parked one of their bait cars outside an apartment complex in West Oak Cliff, complete with a set of keys and unlocked doors. But the man who took the car, 31-year-old Louis Torres, didn't bother with the keys; he used a tow truck, which the cops traced to a business on Davis Street, where Torres was arrested for auto theft.

Two days later, DPD dropped the charges and apologized profusely after realizing that Torres is a driver for a licensed tow truck company contracted by the complex, and that the bait car had been illegally parked on apartment property.

See also: The Kings of the Apartment-Lot Tow

That said, car-theft-by-tow-truck is real, and it's on the rise in Dallas. A police spokeswoman said she didn't have any hard numbers on the trend and couldn't say whether it's the work of rogue towing companies, which is a thing, or freelancers with tow trucks, but she said there has been a significant increase.

Police are being vigilant. Yesterday afternoon, they pulled over Jose Flores-Ramirez as he traveled down Interstate 35 into DeSoto, partly because the license plate on his trailer was obscured, but mainly because they suspected the 1997 Mercury Sable on top was stolen.

Flores-Ramirez told them that he'd just bought the car and was headed to a salvage yard in Waxahachie to sell it for scrap and, despite his lack of the car's title, police had no evidence to contradict him. So they arrested him instead on the relatively minor charge of operating as a salvage dealer without a license, which nevertheless got him locked up in Lew Sterrett for the foreseeable future because he's in the country illegally.

Maybe Flores-Ramirez's arrest means there is one fewer tow-truck-car-thief on the streets. Or maybe he was just some guy trying to make a living by scrapping cars. In any case, it appears that there are still plenty of tow-truck-driving car thieves out there. Not as many old-school, smash-and-hotwire kind, perhaps, but more than enough.


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19 comments
Americano
Americano

Is there any difference between tow companies and car thieves?

wade.purcell
wade.purcell

Theft by tow truck is a real thing in DFW. They go after import cars and lowered or lifted trucks. For a few years it was done by a crew of guys in a white F350. The truck was slightly lowered and the grabber device would fold down into the bed of the truck.

unclescrappy
unclescrappy

Hey lets show this guy some compassion. He is in this country trying to make $$$ illegally. Probably didnt even have Auto Insurance either on his Tow Truck. Lets be nice, drop all the charges, take his tow truck to the salvage yard (Help DPD pay for his incarceration) and lets get him & his family (If they arent US Citizens as well) back home. TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY, NOT HERE where they are ILLEGALLY !!!!

weirdozmedia
weirdozmedia

Well that was a completely pointless article, there's exactly ZERO evidence that there are any tow truck driving car thieves out there. But hey, as long as there's A CHANCE, let's go ahead and report it.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo hez justz bez uhz undocumented democrat try’n ta putz chickn n` corn bread 'n waffles onz dey family.

ruddski
ruddski

Mr Flores-Ramirez will be participating in the FB boycott courtesy of DPD.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

"In any case, it appears that there are still plenty of tow-truck-driving car thieves out there."

Let's see:

Louis Torres: legitimate tow truck driver, not a car thief

Jose Flores-Ramirez: illegal salvage dealer, illegal immigrant, not a car thief

"rogue towing company": accused of purchasing a stolen car, then hiding it in plain sight and not having proper title. Not exactly towing a random car with the intent to steal it, though I could be wrong. In any case, that's Chicago, not Dallas.


Mind you, I despise towing companies and the Black Bulls of this world as much as the next guy. But how exactly are there tow-truck-driving car thieves out there? Are you just going off statement of the unnamed DPD source, Eric? 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

The quickest way to bust a bunch of tow-truck car thieves would be to get the Dallas Constables' telephone records.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

The city requires a license to sell junk?

rubbercow
rubbercow

You realize that calling it what it is makes you a troll here at the Observer?

pat.johnson
pat.johnson

@Lakewooder  State Law requires a salvage dealers license to buy junk motor vehicles without a title


iwearblack
iwearblack

@Lakewooder The city would sell you a license to rub steel wool on your grandma if they could...

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