San Francisco tow truck driver allegedly tries to steal couple’s car – while they’re sitting in traffic

In a bizarre story from a crime-ridden California city, a tow truck driver allegedly tried to hook up and steal a couple’s vehicle while they were sitting in it at a traffic light.

While out running errands a woman and her husband were shocked when they encountered a yellow tow truck while stopped at the light along Bush and Montgomery in downtown San Francisco when it suddenly began to back up and grab onto their silver 2017 Toyota Corolla.

“We were at a stoplight and minding our own business,” said Joanne who declined to provide her first name, when recalling the harrowing incident on the morning of April 9.

She said that at first she and her husband thought the Specialty Towing truck was moving in the direction of a Waymo automated vehicle. “He came from the side. I thought he was turning right. He started in reverse and all the lights came on. That’s when we were like, hey something’s really wrong. His lever was coming down,” the woman told ABC7 News.

The incident was captured on video and has since gone viral, also receiving coverage in the mainstream media.

(Video: YouTube/ABC 7)

In the video, the tow truck makes multiple attempts to hook up the Corolla as a bystander is heard shouting “What the f**k are you doing?”

The light eventually turned green and the automated vehicle drove away but the couple realized that they were blocked by a black car. “We were freaking out. The first instinct was to get away,” Joanne said.

The black sedan backed up, allowing the couple to get away with the tow truck in pursuit. The woman said that it chased them through the streets for several blocks.

“It’s definitely really scary,” she said, wondering what would have happened if the truck had been able to get ahold of the couple’s vehicle.

The couple told the outlet that they were able to lose the tow truck and get back to their East Bay home unmolested. They said that they had no idea why they were targeted and didn’t do anything wrong.

“Full disclaimer, I definitely paid off my car, I paid my registration,” Joanne said.

Specialty Towing was one of several companies that were charged by the city for fraud and illegally towing parked cars and was described as “unscrupulous” by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu.

“Auto Towing intentionally misled and scammed people out of hundreds of dollars by illegally towing cars and making them hard to retrieve,” Chiu said in a February statement. “Now we also know that they took advantage of the public and defrauded our safety net programs. Fuentes and Badillo have demonstrated a clear pattern of predatory behavior designed to enrich themselves at the expense of the most vulnerable among us. Our City has no interest in contracting with exploitative businesses engaged in illegal conduct.”

Auto Towing, Specialty Towing, and others are now banned from bidding for city contracts.

Joanne said that she plans to file a police report and has shared the story of the scary incident to raise awareness for others who may be similarly targeted.

“Be more careful when they’re driving around and making sure if something doesn’t look right, make sure you do your best to protect yourself,” she told ABC7.

Chris Donaldson


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