Five people have been arrested as part of a two-year investigation into the practices of a Valley towing business.
Police accuse the operators of SWAT Towing/Auto City Towing, previously located at 310 S. Alma School in Mesa, of illegally towing vehicles that were properly parked and in some cases, fraudulently acquiring titles for the cars and trucks and selling them at a used car lot in Chandler.
Four men and one woman were arrested Wednesday. They face auto theft, trafficking in stolen property and other fraud-related charges.
The investigation began in September 2010 after authorities received numerous complaints about the business. Mesa police said undercover operations confirmed that criminal activity was taking place.
"This was a complex, long-term investigation into a company whose illegal tactics and practices have victimized hundreds of people in and around the city of Mesa," said Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Tony Landato.
The charges filed include illegal control of an enterprise, participating in a criminal syndicate, trafficking in stolen property, auto theft, forgery and fraudulent schemes.
Authorities have contacted dozens of victims, but they believe there are hundreds of people in the Mesa area who have been victimized by the towing company's practices.
Anyone victimized by SWAT Towing/Auto City Towing is encouraged to contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2324.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.