Operation Wrecking Crew
December 12, 2012
On December 11, 2012, an exhaustive two-year collaborative
criminal investigation, led by The Mesa Police Department, came
to a successful conclusion with the arrest of several suspects
and service of 4 search warrants at various valley locations.
In September 2010, the Mesa Police Department began an in-depth
investigation into the business practices and operations of
S.W.A.T. Towing / Auto Citi Towing, previously located at 310 S.
Alma School in Mesa. The investigation was initiated after
numerous complaints and calls for service at this address. The
allegations followed a similar pattern indicating that S.W.A.T.
/ Auto Citi Towing employees had illegally towed vehicles that
were properly parked, damaged vehicles during the tow process
and refused to release the vehicles without a cash only payment.
Our detectives began with an arduous in-depth background
investigation on the business and its employees going back to
2009. Over the next two years, dozens of victims were identified
and contacted. Undercover operations were employed which
confirmed the criminal activity. The investigation also revealed
that some victims actually lost ownership of their vehicles to
the tow company, who then fraudulently acquired those vehicles
by way of applying for abandoned titles. They would later sell
them at M&P Auto Sales, a connected used car lot in Chandler.
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. With assistance from the Arizona
Department of Transportation, Arizona Motor Vehicle Division,
and the Arizona Auto Theft Task Force, Mesa Police detectives
were able to bring a measure of justice to those victims. The
charges filed include Illegal Control of an Enterprise,
Participating in a Criminal Syndicate, Trafficking in Stolen
Property, Auto Theft, Forgery and Fraudulent Schemes. Anyone
victimized by S.W.A.T. / Auto Citi Towing is encouraged to
contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2324.