Five people have been arrested as part of a two-year investigation into the practices of a Valley towing business.
Police accuse the operators of SWAT Towing/Auto City Towing, previously located at 310 S. Alma School in Mesa, of illegally towing vehicles that were properly parked and in some cases, fraudulently acquiring titles for the cars and trucks and selling them at a used car lot in Chandler.
Four men and one woman were arrested Wednesday. They face auto theft, trafficking in stolen property and other fraud-related charges.
The investigation began in September 2010 after authorities received numerous complaints about the business. Mesa police said undercover operations confirmed that criminal activity was taking place.
"This was a complex, long-term investigation into a company whose illegal tactics and practices have victimized hundreds of people in and around the city of Mesa," said Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Tony Landato.
The charges filed include illegal control of an enterprise, participating in a criminal syndicate, trafficking in stolen property, auto theft, forgery and fraudulent schemes.
Authorities have contacted dozens of victims, but they believe there are hundreds of people in the Mesa area who have been victimized by the towing company's practices.
Anyone victimized by SWAT Towing/Auto City Towing is encouraged to contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2324.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Friday, February 28 2014 3:27 AM EST2014-02-28 08:27:54 GMT
On a rainy Monday afternoon, the buzz of air-powered tools rattled through the garage at CSC Lifts, Liners, and Accessories. The experienced hands of Darrell Carmena applied just the right pressure toMore >
A truck, the man of men, holds so many memories for a family. This fitting tribute is a chance to live on through the work, the sweat and the mud.More >
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:16 PM EST2014-03-07 00:16:44 GMT
Alvin McClellan (Source: Facebook)
A Scottsdale middle school teacher's aide was arrested Wednesday after a search warrant turned up photos and videos of child pornography at his apartment, police said. More >
A court document stated investigators found hundreds of still images and videos on Alvin McClellan's computer hard drive depicting the sexual exploitation of children between the ages of 1 to 12.More >
Wednesday, March 5 2014 10:55 PM EST2014-03-06 03:55:39 GMT
Bullhead City arrests
Several Arizona family members face child and animal neglect charges after a search warrant revealed a house full of 22 dogs and five children who were not allowed to go outside for several months. BullheadMore >
Bullhead City police noted there was an overwhelming smell of urine and feces when they served the warrant Tuesday afternoon at the home in Bullhead City Tuesday afternoon.More >
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:25 AM EST2014-03-06 16:25:33 GMT
Scottsdale Mayor W.J. "Jim" Lane
An impromptu tribute to a fallen officer has turned into an all out controversy. A citizen requested a moment of silence to remember Phoenix Police Det. John Hobbs at Tuesday night's Scottsdale City CouncilMore >
An impromptu tribute to a fallen officer has turned into an all out controversy. A citizen requested a moment of silence to remember Phoenix Police Detective John Hobbs at Tuesday night's Scottsdale City Council meeting. More >
Wednesday, March 5 2014 7:04 PM EST2014-03-06 00:04:55 GMT
A woman traveling across the country to carry out her husband's last wishes, loses her cell phone here in Arizona. You might have seen her driving around town in a pink SUV, with a pink tear-drop trailer. FiveMore >
A woman traveling across the country to carry out her husband's last wishes, lost her cell phone here in Arizona and is on a mission to get it back.More >
Tuesday, March 4 2014 12:42 AM EST2014-03-04 05:42:05 GMT
Suspect William Thornton in officer-involved shooting
Phoenix police confirmed Monday afternoon that two officers were shot in an incident near 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Their conditions are not known. The intersection will remain closed for hours,More >
The shootout occurred after the suspect, identified as William Thornton, 28, fled in his car, caused a three-vehicle collision, and ran away on foot before exchanging gunfire with officers outside a check cashing and title loan business.More >
A northern New Jersey honor student is suing her parents for financial support and to force them to pay for her college.More >
A northern New Jersey honor student who has sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home had her initial request denied Tuesday by a judge who cautioned that the case could lead to a...More >
Wednesday, March 5 2014 10:51 PM EST2014-03-06 03:51:28 GMT
The surviving detective who was critically wounded during a shootout with a violent convicted felon that left his fellow officer and the suspect dead Monday afternoon. Is a nine-year veteran of the PhoenixMore >
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said the 37-year-old wounded officer has been released from the hospital "and is expected to make a full recovery."More >