One of southern Ontario's strangest trends appears to show no signs of slowing down. A recent incident of Toronto tow truck arson has been caught on video and Durham Regional Police is asking for the public to help identify the suspect. Toronto Police suggests the number of recent fires is due to "conflict" and "rivalries" within the towing industry.

One of the latest blazes happened at around 1:10 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Betts Road, according to Durham Regional Police.

In footage released by DRP that was apparently filmed from the dashcam of the vehicle involved, a man can be seen splashing liquid onto the truck before he sets it alight.

When officers arrived, the vehicle was already engulfed in flames.

That fire was followed just a week later by a night of carnage in York region. On March 6, four separate tow truck arsons occurred in the early hours of the morning, according to Global News.

And Narcity spoke to Toronto Police Services about what appears to be a worrying trend.

A TPS media officer told Narcity in an email: "TPS has identified a towing conflict has occurred, and continues to, across the GTA."

 

The officer added: "Disputes and rivalries are, more often than not, based on territory which result in financial gain by various groups."

"Illicit towing is lucrative and disputes will often come down to territory disputes over designated areas and borders, with certain groups claiming others cannot tow from a specific region."

In the York incidents, YRP was called were called to two fires in Aurora: one at 64 Wellington St. E. and another at 145 Wellington St. W., as well as two in Richmond Hill: at 10366 Yonge St. and 16th Ave. and Fern Ave.

All four of those occurred overnight and were believed to have been intentionally set.

These are just the 2020 cases. In North York back in November 2019, a tow truck was lit on fire and exploded in the street.

And a series of arsons across the GTA in recent months has been described as part of a potential turf war.

More similar situations occurred in Hamilton in December after three separate fires.

So what has Toronto Police been able to do about the trend in the 6ix itself so far, and how do they plan to keep combatting it?

"We continue, with partners, to disrupt these groups with a coordinated, intelligence-led response," TPS added in its email to Narcity.

"Investigations have looked at threatening behaviour and firearms, along with insurance fraud, healthcare fraud and fraudulent claims for body shop work."

Narcity also reached out to York Regional Police, Durham Police, and the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario.

 

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