Tow Truck Drivers Charged in Car Thefts

Three truckers nabbed in two-month long Operation "Hook’em Up"

Thursday, Dec 1, 2011  |  Updated 10:06 PM CDT
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West Side tow truck drivers actually were stealing cars, stripping them and selling the remains to scrap yards, police say.

West Side tow truck drivers actually were stealing cars, stripping them and selling the remains to scrap yards, police say.

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Many people complain about being ripped off by towing company fees, but according to Chicago Police, a number of West Side tow truck drivers actually were stealing cars, stripping them and selling the remains to scrap yards.

Police announced Thursday the arrest of three men as part of an ongoing undercover operation targeting tow truck drivers who were stealing vehicles off the street or from accident victims.

Javier Garcia-Cruz, 27, of the 400 block of Providence Court in Bolingbrook; and Anthony McMorries, 52, of the 5000 block of West Superior in Chicago were charged with two counts each of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to a release from police. Jose Sanchez, 44, of the 5700 block of West Thomas in Chicago was charged with one count of possession of a stolen vehicle.

All three were being held in the Cook County Jail as of early Thursday evening.

Operation "Hook’em Up" was conducted over a two-month period by the Area Four Robbery Mission Team and officers from the Ogden, Harrison and Monroe districts.

Acting on citizen complaints, police investigated allegations that tow truck drivers were snatching vehicles from streets and motorists involved in crashes, the release said.

After stealing vehicles with the tow truck, the offenders harvested parts such as GPS monitors, DVD players and stereo equipment, then sold the remains of the vehicle to scrap metal facilities.

Officers used video and electronic surveillance, among several techniques, to identify and apprehend the three offenders, the release said.

In bond court Thursday, Sanchez was ordered held on $100,000 and McMorries on $75,000. Bond information for Garcia-Cruz was not immediately available.

They will next appear for indictment on Dec. 22.
 

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