London, Ontario — If you thought the violence and corruption present in Ontario’s towing industry was exclusive to the larger city centres of Toronto and Ottawa, think again, as tow operators in London, Ont. have been speaking out about a rise in targeted attacks and intimidation in the area.
The CBC recently spoke with Fadi Ibrahim, owner of Low Price Towing in London, who told media that he fears for his son’s life after a Nov. 7 attack in the city’s east end.
Ibrahim says his son was responding to a collision he witnessed when who are alleged to have been rival tow operators spat on him, punched him multiple times and even hit him with a police scanner.
Fearing the worst, Ibrahim told his son “don’t call the police right away because they may stab you.”
A call to police was never made and never gave the name of the rival company to the media.
Two days later, Ibrahim found two of his trucks torched in his tow yard.
“He started threatening me,” he said.
In an unrelated incident one day later, a driver from London Towing and 50 Auto Unlock was shot at on Adelaide Street South by two men in an RMS Towing vehicle. Five bullets hit the tailgate of the truck, and a sixth went through the rear windshield, according to police.
The driver was uninjured and the RMS truck was tracked back to Oakville where Halton Regional Police arrested and charged two men.
According to the CBC, Tom Whitworth of Whitworth Towing and Recovery, a 40 year veteran of the industry, this rise in violence has him shopping for a bulletproof vest.
“You know, we got off lucky this time,” said Whitworth, referring to the shooting. “You should be able to feel safe in your work environment. Right now, my work environment is very toxic.”
Whitworth, along with five other tow operators who declined to speak on-record with the CBC, suspect that the violence is coming hand-in-hand with the expansion of certain GTA-based tow companies into the London area.
These new rivalries have only come to exacerbate pre-existing concerns about the practice of “collision chasing” among tow operators.
A recent police crackdown on towing-related bylaws passed in 2021 led London police to issue 92 penalties and ten warnings against 12 towing firms, with some of those businesses now at risk of a licence suspension.