Portland, Ore. — In a culmination of a months-long investigation named “Operation MistleTow,” the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office’s Auto Theft Task Force (ATTF) apprehended Joseph Allen Beard, 53. Beard is accused of orchestrating an illegal tow truck operation to steal multiple vehicles, subsequently selling them for scrap metal. The charges include Trafficking in Stolen Vehicles, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Theft, Criminal Mischief, Forgery, and Identity Theft.

The investigation, carried out in collaboration with the Portland Police Bureau, unveiled that a Maters Auto Recycling representative sold approximately 80 vehicles to Rivergate Scrap Metal between August and November 2023. Of these, five were reported stolen, and 17 had falsified Vehicle Identification Numbers. Rivergate paid around $29,000 in cash for these vehicles, with Beard allegedly serving as Maters’ primary representative.

Beard conducted these transactions using a DMV Possessory Lien Foreclosure form, typically reserved for vehicles auctioned by government-requested tow companies. However, the investigation revealed that the submitted DMV paperwork was fraudulent, Maters Auto Recycling lacked a tow company license, and Beard did not operate a licensed tow truck.

On December 9, 2023, Beard was allegedly caught stealing a Cadillac. The 79-year-old owner confronted him, and, undeterred, the woman boxed in Beard’s tow truck until he returned her vehicle.

Today, Beard faces 19 new charges related to the towing operation and three charges connected to the December 9th car theft. The charges include Trafficking in Stolen Vehicles, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Forgery in the First Degree, Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, Theft in the First Degree, and Identity Theft. The case is ongoing, with further charges anticipated pending indictment.

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