Turf war blamed for torched tow trucks in Burlington; $10,000 reward offered


Published February 29, 2024 at 3:39 pm

Burned out truck in Burlington

The operator of a towing and trucking firm believes his business is the latest casualty in an ongoing turf war that has now spread to Burlington and other areas west of Toronto.

Three trucks belonging to A Action Towing and Recovery Inc. in Burlington were torched early Wednesday, destroying the vehicles and putting company drivers on edge over fears for their safety.

Owner Doug Murray has since posted a $10,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the identification of those involved in setting fire to the vehicles.

“We strongly believe that the ongoing incidents of tow truck burnings, which have persisted for years without any reported arrests, demand immediate attention,” Murray told inhalton.com. “As a prominent player in the industry, we are committed to raising awareness about this issue in order to put an end to these violent and destructive acts.”

Murray thinks those responsible for the fires are competitors who once operated freely in the GTA, but have since been pushed out of jurisdictions such as Toronto and Mississauga because of stricter licensing regulations.

“And now they have brought their tactics here,” he said. “It comes down to competitors and turf wars. They want us out of the way and rather than working harder and providing better service for their customers, they are burning their competitors.”

Halton Regional Police say Wednesday’s tow truck fires took place in an overflow parking area used by the Burlington company at 4065 Harvester Rd. There were no injuries. Police say the fire is considered suspicious and is under investigation by the Criminal Investigations Branch.

Murray said the loss of the three trucks has already cost the company business by not being able to live up to commitments made to customers. As well, he said the issue has created other financial problems for everyone in the industry.

“Insurance companies don’t want to touch us because of the risk of losses over the arsons,” Murray said. “I have to explain to my insurance company that I just had three trucks burned. There is no way to mitigate the risk.”

A worker for the company added some of its drivers have also expressed concern for their safety, saying the fires make them feel like targets for criminals.

Murray went on to say the lack of media attention on the issue has led to a slow response from police. He said he has yet to be contacted by police investigators since his trucks were torched.

He hopes offering a reward will draw attention to what the industry is facing.

“It’s a way to bring a little more awareness to the problem,” he said. “And maybe get some attention from the police and get some arrests…let’s get to the bottom of this. This is happening constantly in the industry. There were a couple of them burned in Hamilton last month. Across the GTA, there are constant tow truck fires and there are no arrests. These culprits just continue and there are no arrests. It’s ridiculous.”

Damage to the trucks hasn’t been estimated, but it could run in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. The trucks are specially designed for heavy lifting of large items such as cargo and overturned tractor-trailers at accident scenes.

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