More than 100 cars, auto parts seized at South Side tow yard; police believe vehicles were stolen

June 27, 2013 5:43:20 PM PDT
Tow trucks have taken away dozens of cars and trucks from a South Side auto lot. Police believe the vehicles were stolen.

The owner of the lot is in custody.

A GPS device on a stolen car apparently led them to the lot located at 64th and Bell in the West Englewood neighborhood Wednesday night.

In a matter of hours police pulled out dozens of vehicles they say are stolen.

A Mercedes, Lexus, and over 80 other cars pulled on a flatbed tow truck all morning long. The Chicago Auto Pound was extraordinarily busy on Thursday as more than 100 vehicles were brought there as part of an auto theft investigation.

Among the cars police believe to be stolen: a 2003 Pontiac taken at gunpoint from a Chicago driver on Sunday; a tow truck owned by a suburban business; two construction trailers with lighting equipment; and a rental car with a GPS tracking device that led police to the yard.

Police say the owner of the tow yard is under arrest for having these allegedly stolen cars and car parts in the lot. He was only able to show titles for five vehicles.

GPS from a tracking device in a rental car apparently led detectives to the spot.

But the owner's brother, who also works here, says it's all a big misunderstanding.

"They are making us out to look like crooks, like we're stealing cars here in a residential area in an open yard and just chopping cars," said Frank Daifallah, owner's brother.

"We have paperworks; the way the police came in was improper; we have an attorney that's working on everything; it was just a whole big misunderstanding over one vehicle, it was over one vehicle we didn't know nothing about," said Daifallah.

The tow yard is part of a strip of several auto lots. Residents living nearby say they have seen cars come in and out at various hours of the night.

"Some nights when I get home, I work from 3-11:30, they would be bringing in cars," said neighbor Curtis Hill. "I just thought they were impounding cars, I never thought stolen cars."

Some neighbors were a little suspicious but didn't think they were living right across the street from a possible chop-shop.

"Just a fishy gut feeling that something was wrong," said neighbor Carnell Woods.

Daifallah says the detectives have it all wrong, this is a legit business and they are ready to defend themselves.

"Mostly all of our vehicles have paperwork on them we are not a chop shop we are a business we're open our fence is open we are not a chop shop," he said.

Police say they are still investigating and say the investigation will take some time. The owner had not yet been formally charged Thursday. Police said they were trying to match the VIN numbers of the vehicles to see if they match any reported stolen vehicles. They were also checking to see if any VIN numbers had been altered.


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