Sting nabs illegal movers: 'My radar didn't go off,' says one
BEAVERTON, Ore. - The movers arrived at a house with their Uhaul truck Thursday to find a surprise.
The Oregon Department of Transportation had rented the house and posed as people moving because it says it gets a ton of complaints about illegal movers.
"You guys got me, wide open," said Jonathan Guthridge, who was caught in the sting. "My radar didn't go off."
Through the sting, ODOT, in partnership with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, caught seven local companies.
The illegal movers operate without the proper paperwork, unregulated, and are hard to find if they take off with your stuff.
Guthridge advertises his PDX Moving online, claiming he's ODOT certified. He's not. He's not allowed to run a moving truck, and he knows the state is looking for people like him.
"I try to stay one step ahead of you guys," he said. "Usually when I get calls from ODOT, I have the number saved so I know it's a fake. And I'll just block the caller or answer it and say we don't take the truck."
Another mover, Mychal RedThunder of Mychal's Movers, arrives. He's been caught before for the same thing.
On Thursday he claims he's legal. He denies using a truck and says he didn't drive one. He says he took the bus to the house.
But the KATU Problem Solvers scouted the neighborhood and found his truck. Inside was RedThunder's helper, Brian.
When confronted with these facts, RedThunder confesses. But he says the paperwork is too daunting.
"I have the application, and I'm trying, and I need to turn it in, but I just don't have any help," he said. "It's really hard. You go to ODOT and ask them for help, and they say, 'You're supposed to just do this.' ... Maybe I need to sit in the office and talk a little more and sit and be more persistent about it."
The Problem Solvers find out that after RedThunder leaves, he's a registered sex offender.
Even some of the illegal movers say the sting is a good thing.
"I'm glad you're doing this. You gotta get people who are running illegally off the streets, I guess," said Guthridge. "Really, it's about market conditions. It's not fair to have people like me out here. I'm not paying the dues. I'm ruining the roads with my heavy trucks. I'm not paying ODOT. I take full responsibility. I'm going to take the steps to get legal, and I'll be back strong."
Legal movers in Oregon have to have insurance for your things, background checks to keep movers with recent felonies out of your house and a registered address so you can find them if something goes wrong.
Guthridge and RedThunder both received citations and could face fines of about $1,500. Plus, ODOT gave them on information on how to sign up legally, which costs about $500.
If there is an issue you think the KATU Problem Solvers can help with, contact them. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 503-736- 3415.