Two men have been arrested and face felony charges after they allegedly impersonated city workers and attempted to steal a vehicle by towing it away.
According to a press release from Chicago police, 30-year-old Jon Twist and 28-year-old Angel Camacho, both of Chicago, face one felony count of Tower Solicitation and a misdemeanor count of Possession of a Police Scanner after they attempted to tow away a truck and a trailer following a crash at the intersection of Racine and Pershing on Friday morning.
Police say that the driver of the crashed vehicle contacted his employer, a commercial trucking company, and arranged a tow for the truck and trailer. While waiting for that truck, another tow truck showed up at the scene bearing the name of a different company, and the alleged offenders wore uniforms that bore the city seal.
Two men, whom police identified as Twist and Camacho, approached the victim, and said they said they were responding on behalf of Chicago police and that they were sent to tow away the truck and trailer.
Both men were arrested by the Chicago Major Auto Theft Investigation unit, and now face felony charges. The men will appear in bond court in Chicago on Saturday.
Early Saturday morning, a Chicago police spokesman issued a statement on social media saying that authorities have uncovered a “predatory towing operation,” and that the men involved in Friday’s incident were a part of it.
“Police have uncovered a predatory towing operation, which we believe may be orchestrated by gangs,” the spokesman said. “Two trucks appear unsolicited at scenes and essentially take cars hostage and later extort owners. In yesterday’s case, men were impersonating city employees.”
Authorities also issued a message to Chicago motorists, advising that if an accident occurs a tow truck won’t show up unannounced.
“Authorized city tow services will also present you with documentation of the request and you could always verify the legitimacy of a tow operator by calling Chicago police or Chicago OEMC,” the department said.