Criminals stripping abandoned vehicles for parts

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- If you break down on the side of the road and leave your car, don't be surprised if it's missing a few key pieces when you come back for it.

Criminals are stripping vehicles left unattended.

If you drive down I-240 near the Mallory exit, you'll see a car stripped to its bones.

Glen Doane, owner of Griffith Towing, believes there's a growing problem in Memphis.

"You don't want to leave a car abandoned on any street or highway for any length of time," he said. "It's too vulnerable. The car's vulnerable to somebody to come take the wheels off of it or parts off of it or actually steal the vehicle. That happens too."

Criminals will target cars left on the side of the road. Then, they'll swipe parts and sell them. "

There are some professionals who can the tires... The catalytic converter is a big money thing for them," Doane said.

"They can strip engines," he added. "They can do all kinds of stuff, and they can do it in minutes."

While it may be hard for some to bite the financial bullet and call for a tow when stranded, business owners say if you don't, you are taking a big risk.

"In town, you can get your car towed for anywhere between $40 to $65 or $70," Doane told WREG.

While the Department of Transportation will tag abandoned vehicles, Doane added that rarely stops thieves.

"The police lot is full of cars that have been abandoned and stripped. Some people don't even come back to claim them, because they know they're not worth anything."