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Nobody ever said theft, specifically car theft, made any sense. We all know the motivation, but almost no one gets away with it. So using robber’s logic, if you’re going to steal a car or truck, make it easy on yourself and steal a tow truck to do it. And now that’s what some thieves are embarking on, stealing tow trucks to steal trucks. It is not brilliant, so much as it is baffling. 

Where is this happening?

This is happening in various locals around the U.S., but lately, reports focus on North Carolina. Authorities are investigating the sudden rise in tow truck thefts. Thieves are taking tow trucks, then turning around targeting vehicles to use their newfound rigs to steal. Especially older tow trucks seem to be the popular choice. 

You would expect they are targeting Dodge Chargers and Challengers, but you would be wrong. As with their choice of older tow trucks, they’re also stealing older pickup trucks. Authorities reason that older vehicles are easier to steal. There is little in the way of security or remote start features to contend with. 

Police are definitely seeing a rise in this type of theft

tow truck and car thief
Suspected tow truck and car thief | Granite Falls Police

Granite Falls Police told WSOC that after the theft of an older tow truck is reported, a pickup truck theft in a neighboring county occurs. “We believe they probably had a hit on what they were needing,” Universal Motors’ Cliff Barnes told WSOC. Universal was a victim of one of these thefts. 

“So if they were needing a 7.3 diesel, they just find one and steal it. I think they took it to a chop shop and chopped it. I’ve been here 15 years and never seen such crime as here lately.”

Another victim had her late husband’s wrecker stolen. “They got my husband’s wrecker and we wanted to keep that wrecker. He loved that wrecker,” Hamby said. “If they just bring it back to me. Just bring me the wrecker back, that’s all that I care about.”

Not all car thefts are for older models

But not all of the stolen tow trucks are old. One early morning in Eastern Carolina, thieves stole a 2021 International rollback. CJ & Sons Towing Service in Craven County, enlisted help from the public to track it down. Eventually, the rollback was found less than two miles from CJ & Sons. 

But there are easier ways to swipe a vehicle than using a stolen tow truck or rollback. Thieves on the east side of Chicago use a familiar method, repo trucks. These are used by companies contracted to repossess vehicles. But they also find favor for use by car thieves. 

So, no longer is it a matter of someone breaking into your car, hot wiring it, and driving away. If using tow trucks and repo trucks is the best method for legitimate companies, why not take it that way too? And look legit doing it. 


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