West Seattle Crime Watch: Car reported stolen – via tow truck

11:23 PM SUNDAY: Just in from the 1500 block of California SW (map), a texted report about a black Acura stolen by a man driving a white “unmarked” tow truck. The car’s owner is talking to police right now, we’re told. The neighbor reporting it on the victim’s behalf says it headed southbound on California and that the victim says there’s no chance it was towed as a repo attempt. Apparently the alarm was going off as the car was taken away around 10:35 pm. More details when we get them.

12:09 PM SUNDAY: Added a e-mailed photo; no view of the driver but he is described as “a white male, largish build, wearing a red sweatshirt.”

18 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Car reported stolen - via tow truck"

  • dsa February 15, 2014 (11:51 pm)

    What nerve, southbound toward the Admiral junction on a Saturday night towing a car with the alarm going off.
    I wonder if they turned east on Ferry and slipped into a garage instead, nah, none of this getaway makes sense to me.

  • RLS February 16, 2014 (12:20 am)

    We moved here from Colorado 3 years ago and have never had our cars stolen, even if we forgot to lock the doors (older cars). Fast forward 3 years and living in Renton for a few months before moving to Burien and my husband’s civic was stolen 4-5 times in a matter of 6 months…no joke! Not only that, I got my brand new stereo stolen out of my other car. Our condo complex is hard to find and hidden by Seahurst Beach. I just don’t understand people and why they have to do the things they do. You don’t quite get it until it happens to you.

  • alki resident February 16, 2014 (12:23 am)

    Something shady is going on with tow trucks lately. Ive been seeing more tow trucks than usual around here, they look like they’re casing smaller older cars. For now on Im going to be more observant and get plate number off of these tow trucks.

  • na February 16, 2014 (2:02 am)

    You try stealing a car in our area of West Seattle and Your gonna need an Ambulance to go to the H O S P I T A L.

  • Cristal Ortiz February 16, 2014 (3:11 am)

    I’ve never had a problem in west Seattle. It’s too much of a community in my neighborhood. We all know who belongs and who doesn’t and watch out for each other. We have each other’s back and communicate with each other when we are expecting big deliveries moving vans or tow trucks. Were also not afraid to question people when we see something out of the ordinary. We’ve only had one break in in 10 years on our block. I love my nosy neighbors

    • WSB February 16, 2014 (3:46 am)

      Glad to hear that. I don’t know that the neighbors in this story weren’t “nosy” enough, however – this came in as a multi-part text and in hopes that someone might see something, I decided to publish it fast. The person who texted said there were a couple of witnesses and someone thought they had a photo. Perhaps if they did, they’ll share it here for a followup. – TR

  • HKW February 16, 2014 (5:49 am)

    I heard a car alarm going off as a car was moving by my apartment in the 2100 block, but I can’t see California Ave from inside. I thought it was just a car whose alarm or horn got stuck. Crazy.

  • Bee February 16, 2014 (6:03 am)

    Sorry to hear about your car. Reminder to turn wheels & set parking brake as a deterrent from some crook taking car per police bulletins in the past.

  • phil dirt February 16, 2014 (9:26 am)

    Seattle tow truck companies are one of the biggest criminal scams going. Our car was stolen from in front of our house, and the tow bill, after the car was found in a Delridge Ave. apartment house parking lot, cost my wife and I over $800. The cops didn’t bother to tell us that the car had been found and towed. It makes me wonder about tow truck companies and their connection to our city’s police.

  • WS4Life February 16, 2014 (12:52 pm)

    @phil dirt Most local tow company’s have contracts with SPD. The ones that do are the first in line to be called when they are in need of a tow. Seems like quite a COI “A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest”.

    Tow truck companies literally have a license to steal from us. Not only do they but if you don’t pay their extortionist fees they will and can suspended your drivers license.

  • RT February 16, 2014 (3:20 pm)

    My Acura Integra GSR was stolen from in front of my North Admiral home twice in 2002 – despite having a fully activated security system. I always suspected it had been towed, or otherwise lifted onto a platform of some kind. The first time it was recovered 2 miles away. Insurance covered a rebuild of the engine, etc. Two months after I had the car back it was stolen again. When found in Renton 4 days later, nothing was left of it except the metal shell. There are some real pros out there – no matter how vigilant we and our neighbors are.

  • SG February 16, 2014 (9:30 pm)

    I had my purse stolen from my car a few blocks down this same nigt. Perusing the hood for clues and I found them right outside where this happened. Need kids medical insure. cards to turn up. Pretty sure same party involved. Daughter just released from Harborview, fell from window, need to find my purse with her insurance card in it, some clues were right in front of where this car was reported stolen. Talked to svrl neighbors. Pls call if your vhcle is found, please !!

  • Mitch February 16, 2014 (10:30 pm)

    WS4Life – The idea that City tow contractors are actually clever car thieves working in cahoots with the SPD is, frankly, nutty and a little bit scary. I don’t know which is more annoying, reading the posts about how it takes 14 City workers all day to fix one pot hole, or your post, and those like them, about our greedy Machiavellian government and their endless schemes to make our lives miserable by doing things like stealing our cars.

  • Mike February 17, 2014 (12:25 am)

    “The cops didn’t bother to tell us that the car had been found and towed. It makes me wonder about tow truck companies and their connection to our city’s police.”
    Seriously? SPD is not your mommy and daddy. If you want to know if your car has been reported abandoned or if a tow company has it in impound, you can call SPD. If SPD was supposed to contact every car owner that had a car towed, they would spend every hour of the day calling car owners. I see 3-6 cars being towed each week near my kids daycare due to people parking illegally. I actually appreciate the tow truck driver that gave me his name and number after he witnessed a guy hit me and then that guy blamed me for the accident after having rear ended me from the back corner. AAA tow truck drivers are some of the nicest people I’ve had to deal with, always helpful.

  • CD February 17, 2014 (7:47 am)

    Repo maybe?
    I’ve had it happen twice when I was younger…once I watched my car being driven out of my work parking lot not realizing it was my car at that moment…to hook up to a tow truck around the corner. That time I called the local PD and they have to be informed of repo so when I called they came to my work and told me what happened.
    The other time the tow guy steathly hooked it to a tow truck behind my work and then kindly asked me if there was anything I needed out of it before he took it!
    And once I was staying at a friends house and heard some late night noises outside, took a look a saw a car idiling, did not recognize it as my friends car in the dark,and went back to sleep…in the morning it was gone! Felt terrible but this stuff happens…hope you get an answer…
    I do however feel that a lot of tow companies are opportunists though!
    My truck got stuck once right behind a stop sign in Tukwila on kind of a funky hill. Parked it there for 2min trying to catch my friends dog that had gotten loose. Police came by said if it wasnt moved before their tow truck got there they were gonna tow it…well it showed up before our own friend to help did. So they hooked it up, towed it to a flat parking lot around the corner, police came too, told us 150$ we could have it back right now, only had like 94$ on me and he said deal! Gave him the money right there and got back in my truck to leave while the police and tow driver hung to chat!

  • CR February 18, 2014 (8:46 am)

    this was a repo–we saw it. the driver was taking care, did it mid evening in full view of many. SPD never came, though the car’s non-owner did call them to report it as a theft. The tow driver was documenting things as he went and being careful. This was not a theft!

    The non-owner of the car is just not dealing w reality here, and instead getting folks riled up for want of his inability to finance his purchases…

    • WSB February 18, 2014 (9:05 am)

      Well, all we know is that to date, there is no stolen-car report on the SPD map for that location, and absent an incident number, I won’t even be able to check with SPD media. I did ask about the repo possibility at the time – obviously the first thing that came to mind – and while a possible car theft by tow truck sounds unlikely, ever since the totem-pole theft a few years back, via tow truck, with police even duped into directing traffic, almost anything could be plausible. – TR

  • phil dirt February 19, 2014 (3:00 pm)

    “Seriously? SPD is not your mommy and daddy. If you want to know if your car has been reported abandoned or if a tow company has it in impound, you can call SPD.”

    Hey Mike, do you work for or own a tow truck company? Or, maybe you work for the SPD.

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