Unmarked tow trucks are reportedly being used to quickly hook and steal vehicles in the Twin Cities. In at least one case late last week, the victim’s vehicle was later found with the catalytic converter cut out.
In a home security video supplied by an auto theft victim to Crime Watch Minneapolis on Friday, the victim said their vehicle was taken in about 20 seconds around 3:30 a.m. that morning in the area of East 38th Street and 10th Avenue South in Minneapolis.
Two white, unmarked tow trucks can be seen in the video along with what appears to be another support vehicle. One tow truck passes by, then the second tow truck with what appears to be a “repo” quick-lift extension pulls up while the apparent support vehicle parks nearby. The tow truck quickly backs up to a vehicle and tows it from the neighborhood.
Later Friday afternoon, the victim told Crime Watch Minneapolis that their vehicle had been located in the area of East 44th Street and Columbus Avenue South with the catalytic converter removed.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s recently released 2020 year-end crime statistics stated that there was a 660% increase in theft of auto parts over the prior year, with nearly 1900 incidents reported. The report said that auto theft itself increased by 36% over the prior year.
In a thread posted on Facebook about Friday’s incident, a tow truck driver suggested having car alarms turned on when parked. He also advised people to turn their wheels as far as possible to the left or right when parking and to engage their emergency brake to make it harder for a vehicle to be towed away.
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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.