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TOWING & RECOVERY October 2011 Keeping industry pros on their tows FOOTNOTES 3 ® AD tow Part n Se V e p IS ers ag O e 1 R www.trfootnotes.com iStockphoto.com/Klaphat SPOTLIGHT Holiday Gifts & Toys Repossession Advertise Now! Call David Abraham 877-219-7734, Ext 1 Volume 22, Number 6 x $3.95 © 2011 Causey Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved. In The Towing For November: Night Moves Thieves are stealing tow trucks to steal cars BY ANDREA EVANS Three tow trucks were stolen over the weekend of July fourth from Matheny Motors in Woodbridge, Virginia. “I wish we could prevent it,” said Jeff Barbour of Matheny Motors. “Hearing from others in the community, fellow distributors in Houston and Arizona, as well as towers in Maryland, it’s become pretty rampant and widespread.” In fact, Matheny Motors and another towing company across town, Wards Truck Center, have had previous thefts. Both heists from Matheny happened when the vehicles were parked in the company storage lot. For Ward’s, their trucks were stolen from drivers’ homes during overnight rotation duties. After the first theft at Matheny’s about a year ago, the company invested in several light-ing improvements for the storage lot. They heavily reinforced the lot gate to prevent a drive-through and replaced the gate lock and chain with ones guaranteed not to be cut by a torch or bolt cutters. Despite these security improve-ments, on the fourth of July, thieves again entered Matheny’s. This time they cut the chain on a neighbor’s gate then, cut through a 10-foot section of Matheny’s storage fence, which isn’t visible from the road. Two rollbacks and a heavy wrecker were stolen from the back of the lot. “These were not our nicest trucks,” said Barbour. “Those were parked closer, under the cameras and lights,” Stolen: Ward’s Ford/Chevron fifth of July. According to Barbour, the three vehicles were stolen sometime after hours Friday night, July 1, or in the predawn hours of Saturday, July 2. Fortunately the stolen heavy wrecker ran out of fuel and was abandoned on the road in North Carolina. “This en-abled us to pinpoint about the time the trucks were stolen due to the time it [the heavy wrecker] was tagged by the North Carolina Highway Patrol,” said Barbour. “Beyond this, about the only way to recover the other vehicles was to get the word out.” The still-missing Matheny Motors rollbacks include a 2012 Kenworth T270 with a 21-foot Century LCG and a 2010 Hino with a 21-foot Century LCG. For December: Towing & Recovery Footnotes ® P.O. Box 64397 Virginia Beach, VA 23467 PRST STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PEORIA, IL PERMIT NO. 315 “ “The stolen truck had been used to steal 21 vehicles” More Theft Risks Chrissy Ward, co-owner of Ward’s Truck Center, also in Woodbridge, agreed that towers must be aware of the increased risks of truck theft. Ward’s has had wreckers stolen twice in re-cent years, the first in November 2009 and the second in March of this year. Both trucks were stolen while parked See NIGHT MOVES, page 3 Since it was a holiday, Matheny Mo-tors was closed and the thefts weren’t noticed or reported until Tuesday, the ”

Night Moves

ANDREA EVANS


Three tow trucks were stolen over the weekend of July fourth from Matheny Motors in Woodbridge, Virginia. “I wish we could prevent it,” said Jeff Barbour of Matheny Motors. “Hearing from others in the community, fellow distributors in Houston and Arizona, as well as towers in Maryland, it’s become pretty rampant and widespread.”

In fact, Matheny Motors and another towing company across town, Wards Truck Center, have had previous thefts. Both heists from Matheny happened when the vehicles were parked in the company storage lot. For Ward’s, their trucks were stolen from drivers’ homes during overnight rotation duties.

After the first theft at Matheny’s about a year ago, the company invested in several lighting improvements for the storage lot. They heavily reinforced the lot gate to prevent a drive-through and replaced the gate lock and chain with ones guaranteed not to be cut by a torch or bolt cutters.

Despite these security improvements, on the fourth of July, thieves again entered Matheny’s. This time they cut the chain on a neighbor’s gate then, cut through a 10-foot section of Matheny’s storage fence, which isn’t visible from the road. Two rollbacks and a heavy wrecker were stolen from the back of the lot. “These were not our nicest trucks,” said Barbour. “Those were parked closer, under the cameras and lights,”

Since it was a holiday, Matheny Motors was closed and the thefts weren’t noticed or reported until Tuesday, the fifth of July. According to Barbour, the three vehicles were stolen sometime after hours Friday night, July 1, or in the predawn hours of Saturday, July 2.

Fortunately the stolen heavy wrecker ran out of fuel and was abandoned on the road in North Carolina. “This enabled us to pinpoint about the time the trucks were stolen due to the time it [the heavy wrecker] was tagged by the North Carolina Highway Patrol,” said Barbour. “Beyond this, about the only way to recover the other vehicles was to get the word out.”

The still-missing Matheny Motors rollbacks include a 2012 Kenworth T270 with a 21-foot Century LCG and a 2010 Hino with a 21-foot Century LCG.

More Theft Risks

Chrissy Ward, co-owner of Ward’s Truck Center, also in Woodbridge, agreed that towers must be aware of the increased risks of truck theft. Ward’s has had wreckers stolen twice in recent years, the first in November 2009 and the second in March of this year. Both trucks were stolen while parked and locked in front of employees’ homes overnight.

A wheel-lift wrecker taken from Ward’s in 2009 was recovered in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The wrecker was spotted while the thief was in the process of stealing a car because Ward’s Truck Center’s information was still intact on the truck body.

According to Ward, the irate owner of the stolen vehicle contacted her company. Then Ward’s husband and brother drove to the scene of the crime (an hour and a half to two-hour drive from Woodbridge) where the wrecker was recovered with no damage. Later Ward’s learned the stolen truck had been used to steal 21 vehicles in the two weeks it was missing!

Their recent truck theft, in March, was a 2006 Ford rollback which has not been recovered. “We thought for sure like the first one, this one would be recovered; that people were out stealing cars or heavy equipment and eventually they would abandon it, get caught, or something…but no!”

Since the rollback hasn’t been found, said Ward, “My second thought is perhaps they are getting them [the wreckers] to a port, putting them in a container, and shipping them overseas. If it was being used for stealing cars or equipment locally or Maryland, DC, or North Carolina, it would have been found by now.”

As to what preventive measures to take, Ward said, “I don’t know; I wish I did. We’ve installed GPS on all trucks but a true thief will know how to disable it.”

Preventing Theft

The TRAA recently sent a memo to members with these security recommendations:

1. Walk around your storage lot every day to make sure all the fencing is good and nothing has been tampered with.

2. Only a select few employees should have padlock or locking information.

3. Further limit the number of employees who have keys or know company security information.

“Sometimes people tell other people stuff and it’s not always intentional,” said Harriet Cooley, TRAA Executive Director. “Most importantly, be vigilant and alert. Lots get really big and really full. Vehicles are constantly being towed in so it’s not as if you can see what all is going on from your office window. Have a designated employee or manager do rounds at least once a day to be sure everything is on the up and up.”

Substantial investments in lighting and surveillance cameras for storage lots, reinforced gates, and nearly indestructible locks and chains are excellent security measures to deter thieves. Barbour added that further deterrents are being implemented at Matheny Motors. Any section of fence that could be driven through is going to be lined with concrete barriers and if permitting is approved, Matheny’s will add electric fencing around the property.

The U.S. Department of Justice has a National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to promote information- sharing among state Divisions of Motor Vehicles as well as federal, state and local law enforcement. For details about the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), see www.vehiclehistory.gov

Read the full article at http://mydigitalpublication.com/article/Night+Moves/928548/94249/article.html.

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