It sounds like something out of Al Capone’s bullet-ridden prohibition era. But rather than bootleggers in Chicago, police say it’s the tow-truck industry right here in the Greater Toronto Area that’s unleashed a wave of crime complete with murders, assaults and arsons.
On Tuesday, York Regional police announced a slew of charges (full list below) as part of a joint-forces investigation into the tow truck industry dubbed Project Platinum.
“The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has been the scene of violence between rival tow truck companies who have been fighting over financial profits from the towing of vehicles and, the most significant source of profit, the frauds following the initial tow,” York police said in a release.
“The competition for control of the towing market has resulted in murders, attempted murders, assaults, arsons, threats and property damage.
Project Platinum was launched in February 2020, and police say it has identified several organized crime groups that have infiltrated the industry using “violence and property damage as a means to gain control and territory within the industry.”
Police allege that a company called Parmount Towing, along with other rival towing groups, “have been involved in defrauding insurance companies with vehicles involved in collisions and staged collisions.”
Police further allege that the tow companies have colluded with auto repair shops, and car and truck rental companies to carry out the frauds.
A law firm, Carr Law, that was hired to aid insurance companies in the pursuit of legal action against various tow companies became the target of violence, threats and extortion, police added.
Between April 30 and May 1, 2020, police executed a series of warrants in Brantford and Hamilton, arresting five people.
Last Wednesday, 21 additional warrants were executed throughout the GTA, with three more suspects arrested and charged.
During the searches police seized 11 tow trucks, dozens of guns, and drugs including fentanyl, cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana.
Half a million in cash was also seized.