Buffalo, N.Y. - 2 On Your Side has learned that the FBI is investigating whether Buffalo police officers have been accepting bribes to steer business to certain tow truck companies and collision repair shops.
Two different sources have told Two on Your Side's Scott Brown that the investigation has been underway for a while, one of them saying perhaps as long as six months.
Currently, Buffalo has no system in place which designates certain tow truck companies to handle accidents in specific parts of the city.
Because of that, it's not unusual for more than one tow truck to shop up on the scene of an accident.
Sources tell us the FBI is looking into whether officers are being bribed to designate a specific tow truck company to handle the tow at an accident scene and the potentially lucrative collision repair business that comes along with it.
Sources tell us that the FBI probe has nothing to do with the killing of a tow truck driver last weekend.
The system of alleged payoffs has been allowed to flourish in part because Buffalo, other localities does not designate specific tow truck companies to handle accidents in specific parts of the city.
Scott Brown: "The way the system is now, could it lend itself to tow truck operators offering bribes to people so they would tows and get the business?"
Mayor Byron Brown: "There have been some concerns, some potential complaints about that in the past. I don't know the answer to that, we're going to take a very close and hard look at all of this. Our goal is to come out with a policy that can be implemented that would discourage any bribes, any ability for that to occur."
The mayor says that next week he'll unveil a new plan for tow truck companies operating in the city, one that could include dividing the city in to different zones and designating that only certain tow truck operators can handle tows.
A FBI spokeswoman would not comment on the probe saying "we neither confirm nor deny any investigation until or unless charges are filed."
"The wild wild west has got to stop, because that's what it's like out there," said Robert Heidenriech, of Chase Towing. He has created a petition that provides suggestions for changes to the city's current policy.
"A lot of drivers are scared, they've shown concern to me, and they need someone to fight for them," said Heidenriech.