Thief puts Norfolk junk removal company temporarily out of service


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk service company is temporarily out of business thanks to a thief.

Someone vandalized their work trucks and stripped them of their registration tags.

Whoever did it also stole the inspection stickers from inside the work trucks. The business can’t operate until they get new tags, but that could take a while. 

For 15 years, Express Junk Removal Services has been Francis Allen’s bread and butter, but he isn’t sure when his business will get moving again.

“I can’t even describe the feeling because it violates you as a businessperson,” Allen said.

Someone broke into Allen’s fleet of trucks Tuesday night. The damage was discovered around 9 p.m., just a few hours after the vehicles were parked off West 24th Street.

The thief removed the license plates from one truck, stole the new registration tags that were inside another truck, and peeled off the inspection stickers from both vehicles.

“To take all the things, I mean they just shut us down,” Allen said.

A week earlier, Allen said someone put graffiti on the trucks.

He’s now trying to get an appointment with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but Allen said getting new tags may not be as quick as he hoped.

“By us reporting the tags stolen, they have to go through the police or some steps that have to be taken before you can actually get new tags,” he said. 

Allen estimates window repairs and replacement tags will cost $800 to $900.

In the meantime, he is considering renting trucks in order to get back to work, but that’s another financial setback. 

“Because of COVID, everything has slowed down so we were already at a point where we were wondering how we’re going to pick up business,” he said. “For this to happen, it kind of just kicks everyone’s morale.”

Allen filed a police report. He’s also warning nearby businesses to stay alert.

“Whoever did it was bold and I can believe that they’ll be back,” he said.

There are surveillance cameras nearby but it’s not yet known if they were recording at the time.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887) or submit a tip online.

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