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H.B. police arrest tow truck drivers

Residents complained that Westminster-based company was illegally towing their cars for no reason, police say.

September 04, 2012

Huntington Beach police have arrested a pair of tow truck drivers after several residents complained that a Westminster-based company had illegally moved their cars.

According to Lt. Mitch O'Brien, the residents called the department Saturday and Sunday and reported that drivers from Team Tow had taken their cars without reason. Law dictates that a car may be towed if its owner parks it in a customers-only lot and leaves for an hour without going into any of the businesses that the lot serves, O'Brien said.

In some cases over the weekend, residents claimed they had had their cars towed despite having gone into the designated businesses.

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An undercover officer visited the site where the cars were being towed Sunday afternoon, then called in additional officers to detain the drivers.

Mauricio Lopez Contreras, 28, of Cypress and Michael Melchiorre, 50, of Midway City were arrested and booked at the Huntington city jail. Contreras is suspected of auto theft, possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy, Melchiorre of auto theft and conspiracy.

O'Brien said Team Tow was already the subject of active criminal investigations by the department before the weekend incident. He urged any other residents who believe the company has improperly towed their vehicles to call detectives at (714) 536-5951.

—Michael Miller

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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