Police Investigation

Sep 18, 2012 5:11 PM

Tow Truck Driver Accused Of Stealing Cars Off Side Of The Road

State police have arrested a Rowan County tow truck driver and accused him of stealing cars right off the side of the interstate for the past five months.

The owners Pettit Mountain Metals say Ronnie Cole, Jr. pulled up to their business several times driving his black tow truck, towing vehicles he claimed to own. He sold them for scrap metal and walked away with cash.

"He could tell a good story," said Karen Pettit of Pettit Mountain Metals. "We checked on a couple of cars at first and they weren't stolen, so we didn't think anything bad about him."

So Cole kept coming back and he walked away with a few hundred dollars each time. "He just told us it was cars he was cleaning off his lot," said Pettit. "He took all the parts off of it and was moving here."

Each time Cole made a dropoff, Pettit took down the VIN number. "When I put them online they hadn't been reported stolen yet," she said.

But eventually, they were. And unlucky for ole, Pettit is very meticulous about her job. I don't know why he came to us," she said. "We are one of the few places who keeps detailed records.

So when Kentucky State Police stopped by, they had everything they needed to make the arrest. "I don't want the business involved in it or anything shady," said Pettit.

State Police won't say where Cole got the stolen vehicles, and that's still under investigation, only saying they did not belong to him.

Cole was arrested and charged with 16 counts of receiving stolen property. He is being held in the Rowan County jail.

Pettit Mountain Metals says they lost nearly $2,000 in scrap metal that had not been sold, but was instead confiscated by state police.

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