Police say tow truck driver attacked trying to recover BMW in Highline

Beemer owner’s beau beat Seattle-area repo man

Police say tow truck driver attacked trying to recover BMW in Highline
Charge: Beemer owner’s beau beat Seattle-area repo man

BY LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF Updated 1:15 pm, Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Renton man accused of beating up a tow truck driver who tried to repossess his girlfriend’s car has been charged with assault.

King County prosecutors claim Gary A. Steele beat up the Emerald City Recovery driver on Sept. 23 in Skyway. Steele, 28, is accused of striking the man in the head during an altercation in the Highline area.

“The victim suffered serious bruising and soft tissue damage that required hospital treatment,” Deputy Prosecutor Gavriel Jacobs said in charging papers.

In the weeks before the incident, the owner of Payless Auto Sales tried to convince Steele’s girlfriend to return the 2005 BMW X5 she’d purchased. According to charging papers, the Shoreline dealer told police the woman failed to make payments on the car.

The dealer ultimately hired Emerald City Recovery to retrieve the car. The tow truck driver attempted to arrange to pick up the car, but the text message exchange that followed turned antagonistic.

The day of the incident, the repo man went to the 11400 block of First Avenue South to recover the car. He later told police Steele pulled him out of the tow truck and hit him in the head, either with his fists or a metal bat.

The driver later identified Steele as his assailant, a King County Sheriff’s Office detective said in charging papers. Steele’s fingerprints were found in the car as well.

Steele has been charged with third-degree assault in the matter. Warrants for his arrest are outstanding.

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