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NYPD Cracks Down On Tow Truck Scams In Wake Of Sandy

Abandoned and flooded cars in heavily damaged Rockaway on November 2, 2012. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Abandoned and flooded cars in heavily damaged Rockaway on November 2, 2012. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –The New York City Police Department is on the lookout for corrupt tow truck drivers.

The department has formed a special task force targeting Sandy-related thefts and fraud committed by tow truck operators, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.

Several tow truck drivers have been arrested for allegedly taking storm-damaged cars without the owner’s permission, police said.

WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reports

“We stopped one individual in Howard Beach who was using his van to tow a Porsche behind him and he had fraudulent insurance papers,” Browne said.

In some cases, the stolen vehicles were sold for scrap, WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported.

There have also been reports of tow truck operators taking cars from storm-struck areas without permission, storing them at private auto pounds and then charging owners as much as $2,300 to get their vehicles back, police said.

Browne said the department has set up checkpoints to prevent more incidents.

“We’ve been stopping tow trucks to make sure their papers are in order and they have permission of the owners to be towing the cars they have,” Browne said.