CHICAGO — Two men have been charged in what Chicago police are describing as a predatory towing operation.
Angel Camacho, 26, and Jon Twist, 30, are charged with felony tower solicitation. Both men appeared in bond court Saturday and were released on their own recognizance.
A tractor truck became wedged under a viaduct near Racine Avenue and Pershing Road about 6:15 a.m. Friday, according to the Chicago Police Department. The trucker contacted his dispatch center to arrange a tow.
But Twist and Camacho showed up first, Cook County prosecutors said. The men claimed they were there to tow the truck on behalf of the city, and even wore clothing with the official Chicago seal.
When the real tow truck arrived, prosecutors said, an argument ensued and someone called police.
In recent weeks, #ChicagoPolice have uncovered a predatory towing operation which we believe may be orchestrated by gangs. Tow trucks appear unsolicited at scenes & essentially take cars hostage & later extort owners. In yesterdays case, men were impersonating city employees. pic.twitter.com/fL249GFUsc
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) April 6, 2019
The men were arrested and subsequently charged. Twist faces an additional charge of possession of a police scanner.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the incident was part of a predatory towing operation that may be orchestrated by gangs. The scammers will show up unsolicited with a tow truck and then extort owners to get their vehicles back.
If you’re involved in an accident, police said, tow trucks should never just appear. Authorized city tow services should be able to provide documentation. Drivers can also verify credentials by calling police or 311.