A tow company is suspected of snagging vehicles off private property, towing them to an impound yard, then forcing the owners to pay fees to get the cars back even though no parking violations were committed, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Manuel G. Delgadillo, the company owner, and employee Gino J. Bettencourt had allegedly been conspiring in the scheme. They were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, conspiracy and embezzlement Thursday morning, according to the CHP.
CHP officers and Watsonville police detectives involved in the SCARE team—a group that handles auto theft issues in the county—investigated the case after receiving complaints about the tow company's practices, according to the CHP.
Bail for both men was set at $25,000.
The tow company's office and yard is located at Soquel and 7th avenues, just outside of Santa Cruz city limits.