Saturday, November 27, 2021
Cars

Recovering stolen cars becoming larger part of towing business in Portland


By Kandra Kent

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — If you want a one-stop shop to find stolen cars in Portland, a local tow yard is always a safe bet.

Scott Brooks, the account manager at Elite Towing told FOX 12 on Wednesday that recovering stolen cars has become a bigger part of the business since the pandemic.

“It clogs up our lot quite a bit with stolen vehicles, that with catalytic converters, too,” Brooks said. “We tow tons of those, and they’ll sit in the lot for days on end and it’s kind of a nuisance.”

Police data shows that hundreds of cars are reported stolen in the city every month and it’s not hard to find the evidence — junky, inoperable cars can be found abandoned just about anywhere in Portland.

“Most of the time when we get called out to a car that’s been stripped down, 99% of the time it’s stolen,” Brooks said.

For tow companies like Elite Towing, it’s all part of the job but more often these days it comes with a price that has nothing to do with money.

“A lot of the times when we get sent out to recover stolen (vehicles) it’s at homeless encampments,” Brooks said.

“Sometimes it’s been pretty dangerous,” Brooks added. “We’ve had people threatening, surrounding the truck. At that point we generally call another truck out or two for more guys and support.”

When towing companies tow away the cars, the businesses contact the owners but not everyone wants to get their busted-up car back.

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Sometimes Elite Towing will negotiate ownership of the car with plans to recoup towing costs by auctioning off the cars.

But first, they must make sure not to become victims themselves.

“They cut catalytic converters out of vehicles, they’ve gone into vehicles that have keys with them and taken them or done whatever they do to get them out and stolen them,” Brooks said.

Yep, thieves target the towing yards, too.

“It’s basically on us that we have to ramp up security with cameras, electric fences, razor wire, stuff like that,” Brooks said.

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