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After Chicago shuts down Flash Towing, company moves to DuPage County lot

After Chicago shuts down Flash Towing, company moves to DuPage County
After Chicago shuts down Flash Towing, company moves to DuPage County 02:59

LEMONT, Ill. (CBS) – The City of Chicago tried to shut them down, but they're back up and running.

Flash Towing, a fraudulent towing operation, moved to DuPage County. CBS 2's Sabrina Franza went there and found the company wasn't so happy when cameras showed up.

Last month, CBS 2 showed you a cease-and-desist sign on another lot operated by Flash Towing, but the company didn't do either. The city shut down the company because it was operating without a license.

Then on Wednesday, Flash Towing and Recovery 2.0 was no longer operating out of an illegal lot in Chicago. It was operating in DuPage County.

A man who told CBS 2 he worked for Flash Towing didn't want to talk. Shortly after our crew's encounter with him, the company closed its gates.

When CBS 2 first told you about their operation, they were charging exorbitant fees for basic tow jobs, including over $17,000 for one tow and holding cars hostage.

Chicago's Department of Business and Consumer Protection shut their previous lot down, but not before the staff at Flash Towing took their trucks, and many cars in the lot, sources said, to Lemont, outside of Cook County borders.

"This is not a situation that's unique to me," said a new victim, who asked to not be identified. "A lot of people I think go through this because when they get into a car accident they're in a vulnerable state. And if someone on a tow truck shows up, it's very easy for them to finesse the driver to giving them consent to take the car."

Flash Towing was shut down in Chicago, then reopened in DuPage County 02:19

The victim asked to remain anonymous because they still don't have their car following an accident days ago. They contacted CBS 2 because Flash Towing and Recovery is still operating.

"The only reason we were able to find the car was because there was a tracker on it," they said.

Sources close to the Chicago investigation into Flash Towing told CBS 2 that because the operation moved outside city and county lines, city agencies cannot reprimand them alone. They need the local government's help.

In this case, Lemont police said that's likely the DuPage County Sheriff's Office.

Sources close to the Chicago investigation also said cases like this are tricky when they move outside city lines – or to unincorporated parts of a county. It makes it harder for local governments to hold them accountable.

"My car is at stake here," the victim said. "I would like the car to be released back to me, because that's my right."

The Illinois Commerce Commission, or ICC, ultimately stepped in.

CBS 2 also reached out to the Chicago Department of Business and Consumer Protection, Chicago police, and the DuPage County Sheriff's Office to see if they would join in a multi-agency operation to take back the cars stuck in the new lot.

We're still waiting to hear back.

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