Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"For more than a year, a violent tow truck war has been raging across the Greater Toronto Area"

From February in The Globe and Mail:

Dozens of trucks have been set on fire, and at least two men tied to the industry have been killed – one as he stood in front of his mother’s Scarborough home. The feuding shows no signs of abating, with at least two arsons reported in York Region during the first week of February alone.

...

A car that has been in a crash typically needs more than just a tow from Point A to Point B. It may need repair work, and the driver might need physiotherapy. It’s an open secret in the industry that some body shops and rehab clinics will pay tow truck drivers to bring them business. As a result of these kickback fees, a single car can yield thousands of dollars, and “chasers” are racing each other to every job.

...

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the city’s boroughs were unofficially carved up into “kingdoms” by towing operators – an arrangement that required some companies to pay organized crime groups for protection in order to work, the report explained. In some cases, these groups were paid a flat monthly fee. In others, they took a cut of each job.
An update today:
Police announced 20 arrests in total.

...

According to police, evidence seized as part of the search warrants includes:

11 tow trucks.
Dozens of guns, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, and a machine gun.
Thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Two conductive energy weapons and brass knuckles.
An assortment of drugs, including five kilograms of fentanyl, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 1.25 kilograms of crystal meth and 1.5 kilograms of pot.
Over $500,000 in cash.
And a 2014 article about Los Angeles:
Bandit tow trucks will take your car for ransom