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Use Caution When Calling a Tow Truck

tow truck pulls a van away from an accident

According to an article in Canadian Underwriter, four alleged organized criminal organizations that operated as rival tow truck companies involved in a violent battle for territory in the Toronto area have been dismantled.

York regional police said the alleged crimes involved real collisions with jacked-up fees to drivers, staged collisions, and extensive insurance fraud. Police say that for the last three years, rival companies have used violence and intimidation to carve out turf, alleging they caused and staged collisions, worked with auto repair shops and rental companies to carry out fraud, and set fires.

“If you are in need of a tow truck please arrange through a reputable service like CAA, your vehicle manufacturer’s roadside assistance program or contact your insurance broker,” said Allison Bryce, VP of the Private Client Group at the Magnes Group.

The turf war on two lucrative highways has led to murders, attempted murders, assaults, arsons, and property damage, said Super Intendent Mike Slack of the York Regional Police’s organized crime and intelligence services. “Organized crime begins with an opportunity to make money and a level of greed that leads to criminality and violence,” Slack said in a video statement.

Slack said the companies would grossly inflate towing bills, move cars from lot to lot to increase storage fees, inflate repair bills, and involve physiotherapists, much of it in an effort to defraud insurance companies.

“Please do not let your vehicle be towed away by a company that shows up at the scene.  We have seen situations where clients have let their vehicle leave with unvetted towing companies, who make it very difficult to later locate the vehicle.  In addition, they charge exorbitant daily storage fees in order to retrieve the car,” said Allison Bryce.

For more details check out CBC’s Front Burner episode on this.