BY Dollita Okine, 1:10pm February 16, 2024,

This 79-year-old great-grandma chased down a tow truck and busted a car theft ring 

1997-1999 Cadillac DeVille photographed at the 2008 Ottawa Tulip Festival. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Bull-Doser

Noble Jean Napoleon foiled a car theft ring by following her car while it was being towed. Without knowing that the driver of the tow truck had been accused of selling numerous stolen cars to an Oregon scrapyard, the 79-year-old pursued the truck after spotting her white 1999 Cadillac on its back.

According to The Oregonian, Napoleon was picking up her great-grandchildren from school in her son’s SUV when she noticed a tow truck driving by the gas station she was at with her car on the back. She recognized her car, which she had left parked at her apartment, and followed the tow truck while making sure her kids had fastened their seat belts in the rear seat of her son’s SUV.

Resolving the situation herself, she drew up next to the tow truck and yelled at the driver to give her car back. The septuagenarian allegedly pursued the truck into North Portland, persuading passersby to assist in blocking it and confronting the driver.

She said, “No, no, no, don’t beat him up!” to some men she spotted by the side of the road who had assisted her. “I need him to take my car home.”

When the pursuit was over and the driver agreed to unhitch the Cadillac, Napoleon allegedly insisted that he return it to her apartment parking spot. Then, the great-grandmother trailed him the whole way to make sure he complied with her orders.

The tow truck driver, later identified as 52-year-old Joseph Allen Beard, was reportedly employed by Maters Auto Recycling, an unregistered business, according to The Oregonian. Beard and others related to the organization allegedly sold approximately 80 cars to Rivergate Scrap Metals. Without presenting the required paperwork, the scrapyard allegedly kept cash payments for themselves.

According to The Oregonian, Napoleon called the police the same day and gave them the license plate information of the tow vehicle, which they had previously been using a GPS device to trace as part of a fraud probe.

A subsequent inquiry found that Beard had falsified DMV documents to sell stolen vehicles to the scrap yard and did not possess a valid towing license. According to the outlet, the unlicensed tow truck driver is now facing close to 20 counts, including forgery, theft, and possession of a stolen car.

The great-grandmother’s tenacity assisted authorities in unraveling an auto theft ring that had allegedly transferred stolen cars to a Portland, Oregon scrapyard, even though authorities usually advise people against taking such matters into their own hands.

Kevin Demer, the senior deputy district attorney for Multnomah County, stated that to keep history from happening again, Oregon should enact stricter regulations on scrap metal companies.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 16, 2024


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