The Charles County Sheriff's Office has shut down a ring of automobile thefts in which the suspects used tow trucks to steal the vehicles. The investigation began March 1 when the Sheriff's Office began receiving reports of a series of thefts of older-model vehicles, some of which were not in running condition. The thefts occurred mostly from the parking lots of businesses and witnesses reported seeing tow trucks operating in the areas where thefts were reported.
Investigation by detectives in the auto theft detail revealed several storage lots in Brandywine in Prince George's County were serving as collection points for the stolen vehicles, and the vehicles were then being transported to salvage yards in Prince George's County and in Baltimore to be crushed.
On April 28, detectives responded to Baltimore Scrap Corporation in Baltimore to recover a van that had been stolen in Charles County. Upon their arrival, they found the van and observed Derrick Leftridge, 34 of Waldorf, of Just Say Tow, a towing company in Prince George's County, operating a tow truck with additional stolen vehicles on it. With the cooperation of Baltimore City Police, detectives linked the stolen van to Leftridge. Leftridge was arrested by Baltimore City Police at the scene and charged with possession of the vehicle stolen in Charles County, as well as vehicles that had been stolen in Prince George's County.
Charles County Sheriff's detectives have linked as many as 14 vehicles stolen from Charles County, as well as vehicles stolen in Prince George's County and the District of Columbia to the theft ring. The investigation is on-going. Det. J. Pratta is investigating.
Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in Charles County that leads to an arrest or indictment. Anyone with information about a crime may contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. All callers may remain anonymous.