MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two men are facing charges of theft of property after police say they illegally booted and tried to tow away a big rig from a truck stop in Southeast Memphis Monday night.

It’s at least the fourth time a truck driver has been targeted in the city in the last few months.

MPD said the truck driver called officers to the Exxon on 4840 Holmes after his 2019 Freightliner was booted and hooked up to a tow truck while he was inside the convenience store getting food.

Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG
Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG

The truck driver said the tow truck driver also pushed him to the ground while he was on the phone with the police.

Police said Rufus Newson with A1’s Towing and Gary Rhodes with S Line Truck Parking were arrested after they refused to drop the 18-wheeler from the tow truck.

The victim told officers he was only in the gas station for about ten minutes, and when he came out, there was a boot on his tractor-trailer, and he was told he would have to pay $256 to get it removed. The victim said he agreed to pay it, but the tow truck driver lifted up his truck and said the price had been changed to $500.

There are signs beside the gas station that say no free parking for truck drivers, but a clerk inside the gas station said truck drivers who buy gas and food are not required to pay to park.

Police also said a city ordinance requires a boot to be on a vehicle 24 hours before a vehicle is towed away to give the owner a chance to pay a $50 fee.

Over the last few months, police have made several arrests in similar incidents involving truck drivers and A1’s tow truck drivers. In one instance, investigators said a truck driver was physically removed from his vehicle by men armed with guns, and his tractor-trailer was towed to A1’s lot on Mallory.

Henry Foster, a truck driver for forty years, was at the Exxon Holmes Express Tuesday. He said he heard about the crimes and is glad the semi-truck driver involved in the incident Monday called the police.

Truck driver Henry Foster (Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG)

“You know you’ve got crooks everywhere trying to get over on people, and it’s so sad, and I’m glad police arrested them, and I hope they put them all out of business,” said Foster.

Newson is also charged with simple assault. driving with a canceled commercial driver’s license, and his truck was towed to the city’s impound lot.

We were not able to contact anyone with A1’s Towing and Hauling or S Line Truck Parking after hours.

After the arrests of A1’s tow truck drivers in April and July, WREG contacted A1’s Towing and Hauling to find out if the arrested men were current or former employees. A woman who answered said the company had no comment about the men or the case before hanging up the phone.

According to court documents, the Shelby County District Attorney’s office approved the charges against Rhodes and Newson, and MPD’s legal advisor was also advised because of ongoing problems with the wrecker company’s activities.