Eleven people have been arrested in connection with an undercover operation intended to cut down on auto thefts and daytime burglaries in Pierce County, Lakwood police announced this afternoon.
The Auto Crimes Enforcement Task Force launched Operation Bulldog three months ago after noticing an increase in people trying to sell stolen vehicles and car parts.
Detectives set up a chop shop inside Glenbrooke Apartment Community in Puyallup, with the owner’s permission.
“We put out the word that we were buying vehicles for parts,” Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler said. “That’s when people started coming to us and we would buy the vehicles for cash.”
The task force arranged to buy 20 stolen vehicles, five guns and drugs.
After serving a search warrant at a home in unincorporated Pierce County, the task force recovered 3,000 stolen items taken during 24 burglaries in the region.
A lot of the stolen property has already been returned to its owners, police said.
“This whole operation was targeting a group that was doing these types of crimes,” Lawler said, adding that the undercover investigation was not limited to one group.
Thirteen arrest warrants have been issued. Eleven have been taken into custody. Lawler said 25 suspects have been identified. One woman was arrested today after showing up to a meet with undercover detectives driving a stolen vehicle.