Charges: Men Stole Vehicles Using Tow Truck

HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — Two men are accused of using a tow truck to steal vehicles from a parking lot, and were caught when they unknowingly lifted a “bait car.”

According to charges filed in Dakota County, 50-year-old James Chester Jennings and another person identified only by his initials stole a Ford pickup truck from a Walmart in West St. Paul in early April.

Surveillance video showed two people loading the pickup onto a tow truck and driving out of the lot.

A month later, the Coon Rapids Police Department said that a car they’d left as a “bait car” had been stolen by a tow truck matching the description of the one used in the April incident.

When confronted by investigators, Jennings’ alleged accomplice told authorities that Jennings had paid him to clean out the cars they towed and would then scrap them for money.

Jennings faces felony charges of motor vehicle theft and theft of property valued between $1,000 and $5,000.

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