Auto Towing operation caught in theft scheme–sold cars for scrap in Rivergate

On April 11, 2024, Joseph Beard, 52, was convicted on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV), possession of a stolen vehicle (PSV), and theft I related to the Auto Theft Task Force’s work to address the issue of automobile theft in Multnomah County. This conviction stems from an ongoing large-scale investigation, dubbed “Operation MistleTow” by the Auto Theft Task Force and Portland Police Bureau.

In December 2023, a woman witnessed Beard tow her legally parked car. She followed his truck and eventually boxed it in. Other members of the community became involved and Beard promised to tow the car back to the woman’s apartment. Beard did return the vehicle and promptly left the scene before a stolen vehicle report was created. Law enforcement was notified and a warrant was issued for Beard’s arrest on December 22. He was arrested while again driving his tow truck on January 5, 2024 and was subsequently charged with 22 felonies. Several of the stolen towed vehicles involved in the larger scheme were traced back to Beard, who now has five open cases related to auto theft that are actively being pursued by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. 

Maters Auto Recycling was stealing cars and selling them for scrap metal in North Portland’s Rivergate district

Law enforcement’s investigation revealed that Maters Auto Recycling, the company with which Beard was affiliated, had a history of falsifying purchase paperwork for stolen vehicles before selling them to Rivergate Scrap Metal in North Portland. Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office investigators identified dozens of vehicles that had been sold by Maters Auto Recycling in Rivergate, many of which were crushed shortly after being sold.

Sentencing in this case has been set for Friday, April 19, 2024, at 9am. 

The DA’s Office would like to thank the Auto Theft Task Force, and the many officers whose work contributed to this case.

Taken from a News Release from Multnomah Co. District Attorney’s Office
Posted on FlashAlert: April 15th, 2024