AUSTIN (KXAN) — After several reports to police of vehicles being towed away from public streets where they were legally parked, APD’s Auto Theft Unit has named a suspect they claim has been running an illegal towing company.
Police say Mark Alexander, 63, has been working with an illegal towing company, “LIL RU’S TOWING,” while accepting illegally towed cars to his scrap/salvage yard where they are stripped for parts and the car bodies crushed for scrap.
Many of the towing incidents were caught on surveillance cameras showing the logo and phone number of the towing company, according to police.
In one of the auto theft cases, police say they have a series of text messages attempting to sell a 1971 Ford Bronco which was allegedly stolen from a repair facility. The number in which the texts originated from matched the number seen in the towing company’s logo, according to the affidavit.
During the investigation, police found the towing company was not licensed to operate in Austin.
Police observed the tow truck driver tow a Ford Crown Victoria. Police say the owner of the Crown Victoria was contacted and told police he did not authorize the car to be towed.
Police say they followed the tow truck to the driver’s home where the tow truck and the Crown Victoria were parked overnight. The next morning the tow truck pulling the Crown Victoria was followed by police to Thaxton Road.
With this information, police were able to serve a search warrant at the address. Officers found a car salvage/scrap yard business named All Core.
According to police, Alexander said he receives vehicles from “LIL RU” then strips the powertrains and then crushes the bodies. The salvaged parts are then taken to Waco to be sold while the crushed bodies are sold as scrap metal, according to the arrest warrant.
Police say Alexander worked with other towing companies but was reluctant to name them.
During the search, police say 34 confirmed stolen vehicles from Austin and surrounding areas were located on the property, including the classic 1971 Ford Bronco and the Crown Victoria. A box containing over 1,400 vehicle titles were also found and seized.
The police investigation found Alexander had an expired tow truck license from 2006 and an expired salvage dealer license.
Mark Alexander is accused of theft, a third-degree felony.