Towing firm manager disputes arrest He says business is honest, police are harassing him

August 16, 1996|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

The manager of a Cherry Hill towing and auto parts concern, arrested last week and charged with theft, says that his business is honest and that his arrest constitutes harassment.

William Frank Walls Jr. of All-American Towing and Depauls Auto Parts was arrested Aug. 9 during a police raid of the two companies. He and employee Ronald Joseph Schaefer, 38, face charges of theft over $300, police said.

Police said that on May 28 the suspects stole a 45-foot flat-bed trailer parked near a South Baltimore intersection and sold 17 crushed cars on the trailer to a metal company for scrap.

But Walls blamed the arrests on what he said was false information provided to police by a former Depauls employee whom Walls had fired. Walls said he was elsewhere at the time the trailer was stolen, signing contracts for his company.

"It goes to show that the police are trying to get me," Walls said in an interview this week.

Southern District Police Lt. Barry Baker said this week that police had recovered two stolen generators and two stolen vehicles from the companies' lots and were investigating further. He said 10 motors taken during last week's raid turned out not to be stolen, as police had originally suspected.

After the raid, police alleged that company employees received stolen cars. Officers also said the towing company waited two months to inform some drivers that their cars were on the lot; with each day, the towing fee increased by $8.

Walls said his company was careful to make routine checks to see if cars towed to its lot had been reported stolen.

All car owners are promptly notified if their cars are towed to All American, Walls said. Some drivers would not respond to the company's notification, he said.

Charles Robert Walls, who is listed as an owner of the company, has been unavailable for comment.

But MaryBeth Thompson, the bookkeeper for the two companies, called The Sun and said she was speaking on his behalf. "There isn't anything illegal going on down there," she said.

Pub Date: 8/16/96

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