Recycling old cars for scrap metal is a big, important and perfectly honest business. But according to Prince George's County police, car thieves have gotten into the act by using tow trucks to steal older cars right off the street.
One suspect is accused of stealing dozens and dozens of vehicles, including broken-down vehicles on the Beltway.
Prince George's County police said the suspects, who sometimes work for legitimate towing companies, take the vehicles to scrap yards, where the vehicles are crushed before the owners even realize the cars are missing.
Police say hundreds of vehicles each year are stolen in Prince George's County this way.
Five people suspected of this type of crime were arrested Wednesday by a special police stolen-car unit. The unit also seized two tow trucks the suspects were allegedly using.
"If you're stealing cars with a tow truck we're gonna catch you," said Sgt. Fred Walford.
In Maryland, if a car is eight years or older, no title or sales receipt is required to buy or sell it for scrap.