It was the show that signaled to the world that CourtTV had officially left the building and in place of shows like Forensic Files and Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice, in rushed an onslaught of the newly-named truTV's reality shows featuring the common day worker starting with Operation Repo. The show featured a family owned and operated vehicle repossession company based out of San Fernando Valley in California.
Though the show had its fair share of criticism, it was one of the first of its kind and some say that it helped pave the way for more successful "day in the life" reality shows such as South Beach Tow produced by Jennifer Lopez and Lizard Lick Towing.
It may surprise you to learn that there are many things that most people don't know about the show that carried the motto, "It's no joke if you don't pay that note!" One of those things is that the show first aired as Operación Repo on Telemundo in 2006 where it quickly rose to the number one rated show on the network. In 2008, truTV got ahold of the show where it aired from 2008 to 2014. How can a show about repossessing cars become so popular and successful? It just might be because of some of the outrageous and bizarre secrets that you're going to learn about here... buckle up!
15 Sonia Pizarro Was Arrested For Trying To Steal A Wallet
Sonia Lopez Pizarro, best known for her self-confessed "big mouth" and wild ways of getting business done on the show, was arrested in 2015 for the charge of theft of a wallet containing three thousand dollars in it from a shop that specializes in selling drones. But what did she have to say for herself about the incident?
"Can I just say BS?" Pizarro said before laughing to TMZ's crew. "Look it, it is what it is... I'm fifty-two years old. I've returned a lot of wallets and a lot of purses and sometimes I get something, sometimes I don't, okay?" She goes on to explain that she went into the shop to purchase a drone as a gift when she saw that two men had left a wallet nearby. She said she knew it wasn't right but she was going to make them suffer a little bit. She said that she knew that there were cameras in the store but wanted to take the wallet and return it to them after they left the store. She made it clear that she simply wanted to "make them pay" (a reward) for carelessly leaving the wallet on the counter.
14 Real Repo Men And Tow Truck Drivers Hated The Show
Though the cast and producers enjoyed a good amount of success during the show's run, Operation Repo drew in a fair amount of haters as well as fans. Some people didn't appreciate the way the show passed itself off as real while some didn't like the characters and others happened to be hard-working repo men in real life who detested everything about the show.
One commenter wrote, "I am a repo man in pa and this show pisses me off!!!! I dont know about all the other repo men out there but I never have a confrontation every damn repo. It's a shame these idiots make money pretending."
Another one wrote, "Their “tow truck” is a Ford F-250 with a make shift tow assembly in the back (you can see it in the cast picture). How pathetic is that?"
13 It Was All Fake! (In Case You Weren't Already Aware)
It is with great irony that Operation Repo was on a channel called "truTV" which implied that the show was reality-based when in fact, it was technically classified as a "docudrama" and the hard-working everyday man from the show, Luis Pizarro is actually the show's creator and director. Many fans were disappointed to learn the show, which featured outrageous incidents and stunts, was completed scripted and it was merely actors pretending to get their vehicles repossessed. Not one vehicle was actually repossessed in the history of the show. Operation Repo followed a simple yet effective formula to boost its ratings. The show typically started with banter between cast members with hints of developing storylines between the crew. Then the "repo teams" would set out for the day, usually talking about the car they were going to pick up on the way over. Whether at someone's residence or a business, the team would descend upon the vehicle only to get stopped mid-way by the actor playing the role of the vehicle owners who would get upset, try to fight the repo team or perform some other type of shocking behavior. Sounds basic enough but it worked!
12 Luis Pizarro's Boxing Past
One thing that many fans of the show likely don't know is that Luis "Lou" Pizarro, former fake repo man extraordinaire, was a pretty well-known boxer back in his heyday. Born in 1962 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Pizarro competed in the bantamweight division of Men's Boxing in the late 70's. Something that might further surprise fans, due to Pizarro's size while he was on the show, is that he also competed in the featherweight division. He was so good that he was bestowed the honor of representing Puerto Rico at the 1980 Summer Olympics, hosted in Moscow along with fellow boxers, Alberto Mercado and José Angel Molina. He didn't end up placing then but when he attended the Pan American Games in 1979, Pizarro went home with the silver medal in the bantamweight category.
11 Froylan Tercero And Sonia Pizarro's Bizarre Romantic History
What do 1963 and 1991 have in common? Not very much, apparently because those are the years that Sonia Pizarro and her ex-husband, Froylan "Froy" Tercero were born. An incredible twenty-eight year age difference between these two didn't seem to stop their beating hearts from attracting to one another when they married years ago when Tercero was just a young buckaroo. Despite having one child, a son named Froy Jr., the marriage didn't last although the former couple was able to work/act together on the show. Froy Jr. also known as "Little Froy" has made a few appearances on the show, one where he "steals" a car by swiping the remote to the gate left in Pizarro's truck. Someone's got to be the black scripted sheep of the family, right?
10 It Was Rumored That Luis Died
When fans watched what seemed like a routine episode of Operation Repo one night in 2009, they couldn't have known (unless they watched the over-the-top previews, that is) that Lou Pizarro was going to collapse during the show and have symptoms of a heart attack right in front of a crew of construction workers... sort of. The premise of this episode had Pizarro and his daughter, Lyndah had shown up to a construction site to repossess the car of a worker at the site. The "worker" lost his cool, hopped in a forklift and started to damage the car which sent Pizarro into a panic. While his daughter desperately urged him to calm down, he picked up a large sledgehammer and started exhibiting signs of having trouble breathing properly before collapsing on the ground. Operation... Ratings! But of course, Pizarro was just fine and still is and although the show is completely scripted, a top Google search for Luis Pizarro is still, "Luis Pizarro died."
9 All Those Physical Fights Never Could Have Happened!
For anyone who has ever watched the show and thought, "The casts gets into a lot of fights. How can they get away with that?" The answer is simple: they can't. The legality of getting into the kind of tangles and tussles that these guys have found themselves in would end up in court or at the very least, with some kind of police report if they happened in real life.
As one true blue repo man put it on an online forum about the show, "I'm a real repo man. REAL repo men are not allowed to lay a finger on ANYONE, nor can they randomly spray people with pepper spray, or even act confrontational AT ALL. Repossessing is serious business. This show makes anyone in the business look like a clown."
8 Lou Once Caught A Criminal Off-Camera And It Wasn't Even Staged!
Talk about being at the right place at the right time. In 2014, Luis "Lou" Pizarro just so happened to be driving down a street in Los Angeles when he suddenly found himself in the midst of a car chase. A suspect in a white car was attempting to flee from police when Pizarro picked up on what was happening and shut the scene down by blocking the suspect in. The man on the run got out of the car and tried to take off but a quick-thinking Pizarro used his truck to pin the suspect up against the fence until the police could arrive and take over. The truck was the very same one that he uses on the show however the police didn't recognize Pizarro from Operation Repo because by that time, he had lost over one hundred pounds thanks to a gastric sleeve operation.
7 Ronnie Tyrone Lee Is A Professional Actor
Remember Ronnie, the hulking repo man who joined the show in later seasons? Turns out that though he really is a hulking man who gave fellow cast member, Matt Burch a run for his money, he's not actually a repo man. Ronnie Tyrone Lee's acting career may have started with Operation Repo but it didn't end there. In fact, the same year that he started with the repo show (2012), he was also featured on Major Crimes as a bouncer and has had a few other roles since the non-reality show ended such as a part in the TV movie, It's About Time and the upcoming short, Skin. It's been said that a sign that a TV series is about to come to its end is when they start adding new characters. The addition of Ronnie to Operation Repo was no different but during his two years on the show, he managed to become something of a fan favorite.
6 Froy Is A Makeup Artist, Not A Repo Man!
Froylan "Froy" Tercero seemed to know his stuff when it came to the ins and outs of the repo game but as it turns out, it was all a show. While Tercero was "hooking and booking" and pretending to fight off angry people who couldn't "pay that note" he was probably dreaming of a special effects makeup room in Hollywood, which seems to be his real passion. In fact, Tercero worked on such sets as Ali and A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe. He's credited for both movies on his imdB page as a "makeup effects technician." He must be pretty skilled to be able to land a job on such big name movies but it doesn't look as though Tercero has worked (at least, professionally) in the makeup department since 2001.
5 The Biggest Losers
It would seem that losing the stardom they enjoyed when Operation Repo was being filmed has served at least three of the main cast members very well. These three relatives, Luis "Lou" Pizarro, his sister, Sonia and daughter, Lyndah all lost a massive amount of weight after the show. It looks like the family who pretended to repo together, loses weight together... though from what we were able to tell, it appears that they accomplished their weight loss goals in different ways. Lou went the gastric sleeve route and it seems that Sonia had some similar kind of operation as well though she seems to be a bit mysterious when it comes to revealing her weight loss secrets. Her niece, Lyndah however started a blog where she posted her workout routine and diet and called it "Working Out with Lyndah." She lists her occupation as: "actress/model."
4 There Was A Disclaimer At The Beginning Of The Show That Told Us It Was All Fake
A lot of viewers of this show likely glossed over the tidy little disclaimer that flashed for a few seconds on screen and basically told us that the whole show was completely phoney. Why? Because when most of us sit down to spend a precious half hour or two watching a reality show, we expect it to be just that. In any case, the actual disclaimer says, "The stories that are portrayed in this program are based on real events. The names of the characters were changed in order to protect their identities... and some honor." What this handy dandy disclaimer does not mention is that everyone who appears on the show is a paid actor. While there's no doubt that things can get pretty wild and emotional when cars and repossessed, we highly doubt that all of the scenes on the show were "dramatized" or "reenacted." More like, completely fabricated. Details, schmetails.
3 Carlos Lopez, Jr. Has Lots Of Acting Credits
If you remember Carlos Lopez, Jr. from Operation Repo and have ever thought, "I wonder whatever happened to that repo man who appeared in thirty-seven episodes from 2012 to 2013?" - wonder no more. Firstly, of course Lopez is not actually a repo man but an actor who has been working since 2011 and had bit roles usually playing gangsters, mobsters or a prison leader but has also accepted roles in everything from a firefighter in an iCarly episode to a couple of reenactments on America's Most Wanted. Lopez also scored a big screen role as a foot soldier in 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Lopez comes from an interesting background. He grew up in South Sacramento and after watching many of his friends succumb to the tragedies of gang life, he decided to enrol in the military and served thirty-seven months for his country before turning to acting full-time.
2 The Infamous Biker Beatdown Was Carefully Choreographed
If you were a fan of Operation Repo, there is a good chance that you'll remember the infamous biker fight that fake repo men, Froy Tercero and Matt Burch found themselves tangled up in. Ring a bell? Then you might be disappointed to learn that this, along with every other scrap featured on the show, was entirely rehearsed and planned to the hilt. The only hint of danger that came from episodes like this came from the risk of being addicted to scripted reality shows that hire actors to pose as surprised and angry vehicle owners. We're betting that the actors hired by the show for episodes like these had some kind of stunt training. One of the main reasons the show enjoyed such high ratings during its heyday was thanks to the violent and dramatic fights that "broke out" when emotions ran high during a repo.
1 All Those Perfect Camera Angles And The Times The Camera Crew Was Left Behind ... Fake
Do you remember watching an episode of Operation Repo where the cast narrowly manages to escape someone who didn't take kindly to their vehicle being towed away and decided to respond with a gun or another similarly dangerous weapon? Wasn't it strange to realize that the camera catches the crew driving off and then pans back to a picture perfect angle of the angry and car-less person? Why would the cast leave their camera crew behind who surely would be vulnerable to an attack? Realistically, if someone was upset enough to threaten someone who was repossessing their car, they would feel the same level of anger, if not more, towards the people filming them having their car repossessed, right? But since we've never heard any reports of slain or attacked truTV camera crews we have to assume that this is just another sign that truTV didn't care enough to cover up that one of their top rated reality shows was one hundred percent fake.