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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tow War In Philly?

Here's the story from WPVI-TV:
PHILADELPHIA - July 21, 2010 (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police are investigating a pair of incidents overnight that might be the start of a war between rival towing companies.

About 12 or 13 cars were set on fire just before 1:00 a.m. in the rear lot of J & Sons Auto Collision located on the 3100 block of N 2nd St in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia. There were no injuries reported.

"If the Philadelphia Fire Department didn't respond as quick as it did I would have lost everything," said Jose LaTorre, Sr., owner of J & Sons.

The Philadelphia Fire Department has declared this a suspicious fire.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Police report that someone fired about 6 bullets into the Mystical Towing office building around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on the 100 block of West Ashdale Street in the Olney section of Philadelphia.

The owner and his wife were in the building, but nobody was hurt.

"I heard a couple of different bangs, I didn't know it was gunshots at first," said John Campbell, owner of Mystical Towing. "I came outside, then when I came in is when I noticed all the holes in the walls."

Police are trying to figure out if the fire and shooting are in any way linked to Monday morning's shooting between two tow truck drivers from J & Sons Towing and Mystical Towing.

The shooting happened at the scene of a minor crash at Whitaker and Hunting Park avenues. Police say Jose LaTorre, Jr., apparently arrived at the scene first, driving a black Cadillac Escalade. He's also the son of the owner of J & Son's Towing.

At one point a tow truck from Mystical Towing, driven by Anabel Carrera, also arrived and an argument ensued.

"The guy in the Escalade sees the guy in the tow truck, tells the guy to move his truck because he blocked him in with the tow truck," said witness Jack Roth.

The shooting happened after that argument, Roth said, and LaTorre took off. He remains at large.

LaTorre, Sr. said he has not doubt the fire at his shop Wednesday morning was an act of retaliation.

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