The process [Flagstaff tow man Jessie] Sensibar is so fond of is the Arizona abandoned vehicle procedure, which simply requires a tow company to send the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) paperwork claiming a vehicle has been abandoned. Unless the vehicle is reported stolen, the MVD mails the tow company an abandoned vehicle authorization 30 days later.
The problem is, in cases like Lisa Carroll's, the vehicle has not been abandoned at all. Rather, the owner of the tow yard refuses to release the vehicle to its owner and "stonewalls" them by creating multiple reasons for holding on to it.
The tow company then gets to keep the vehicle, to use or resell as it sees fit. Carroll's truck, for example, is now employed as Sensibar's snowplow.
Side comment: The article describes the industry as "unregulated," but it sounds to me like the problem is a poorly crafted regulation that makes corruption easier.