Four charged in scheme to issue fraudulent big rig inspections

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Four arrested in safety inspection scam in Conroe, Elissa Rivas reports. (KTRK)

The owners of Pike Tire in Conroe are under investigation after DPS charged them for engaging in an organized crime.

Investigators describe the crime as a scheme to issue fake safety inspections.

According to DPS Sgt. Erik Burse and court documents, the father and son team of Derrell and Vincent Pike used their business to issue fake inspections for 18-wheelers they never even laid eyes on.

"It's the equipment, the brakes, the lighting, there's a plethora of things that have to be there and operating correctly," said Burse.

According to court documents, the Pikes had recruited another man, Timothy Roberts, as a legitimate inspector. They promised him a "vehicle, warehouse space, and additional storage." The documents go on to read: "Derrell Pike stated the agreement was 'You use the truck and I use the license...we're even.'"

In one six-week period this summer, court papers claim Vincent Pike issued 127 fake inspections.

"How many is too many? One," said Burse. "Let's say your tires, let's say your headlamps, there's a number of things that pose a danger to you and I and the rest of Texas."

Those court papers also point to one more man in trouble: Gary Hoffman of Shark Trucking in Houston. Court papers state Hoffman's vehicles were never brought to Conroe for inspections and he was paying about twice the inspection price for the fake paperwork.

"They can keep that truck on the roadway knowing it has a problem that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Burse.

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