A man has been accused of illegally towing and selling roughly 370 vehicles from Vancouver and Portland since July 2018.
Carlos Lopez-Torres, 51, has been indicted on 117 counts, according to a Thursday news release from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
The indictment alleges that Lopez-Torres likely used a homemade tow truck to steal the vehicles before selling them and collecting more than $86,328.20 from a scrap metal company.
Lopez-Torres then sold the vehicles under a company named Carlos Towing LLC.
And made false statements regarding the ownership of the vehicles, the news release said.
The business is not registered with the city of Portland, and Lopez-Torres does not have a towing license, dismantler’s license or vehicle dealer’s license in Oregon, the release said.
The tow truck consisted of a red pickup with a hydraulic boom installed in the bed, according to the release. The vehicle did not have safety gear, an improved braking system or any company signs, the release said.
Law enforcement located several text messages alerting Lopez-Torres about cars parked on the side of roads, according to the release. Lopez-Torres paid a $70 “vehicle finder’s fee” to those who notified him, the release said.
In each of the cars Lopez-Torres sold, he removed catalytic converters and sold them separately, according to the release. The crimes continued through July 2, when Lopez-Torres was arrested on the 5900 block of Northeast 60th Avenue in Portland, the release said.
The indictment consists of four counts of trafficking in stolen vehicles, four counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, four counts of being in possession of a stolen vehicle, four counts of first-degree theft, one count of acting as a vehicle dealer without a certificate, one count of conducting a motor vehicle dismantling business without a certificate, one count of false swearing with regards to a vehicle’s registration and 98 counts of making a false statement about a vehicle’s title or transfer.