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UPDATED: Task force busts suspected chop shop at Tacoma home

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:33 am with 8 Comments »
December 1, 2011 11:46 am

UPDATED at 11:30 a.m.

Area law enforcement have arrested two men and were searching for a third suspected of running a chop shop from a South End Tacoma home.

Members of the Auto Crimes Task Force served a warrant on the home in the 3300 block of South K Street early today. They found a stolen car on the property and a stolen Infinity that had been dismantled, Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler said.

“When you take down these operations, you take a big chunk out of what’s going on out there,” Lawler said.

The arrests were the culmination of a two-month investigation by the task force, which is comprised of investigators from the Lakewood police, Tacoma police and Pierce County sheriff’s departments as well as smaller agencies. The Lakewood Police Department hosts the task force, which is funded by a grant from the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority.

“They get into this (investigation) and find a man who is selling stolen cars and running a chop shop,” Lawler said.

Investigators don’t yet know whether the suspects were stealing the vehicles themselves or buying them from someone else. They do believe the vehicles were taken from the Tacoma-Pierce County area and then taken to the South End home to be sold intact or dismantled, Lawler said.

During the investigation, undercover officers bought nine stolen vehicles from the chop shop operator. Two of the vehicles were purchased this morning before the search warrant was served, Lawler said.

After serving the search warrant, investigators arrested two men. A 48-year-old man was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of eight counts of taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission. The other man was booked into jail on suspicion of possession of stolen property and violating a domestic violence protection order, Lawler said.

Investigators were working on getting the stolen vehicles back to their owners.

It’s not illegal in Washington to run a chop shop. However, the task force would like to see the law changed so it is, Lawler said.

Most of the people arrested in connection with a chop shop are booked on charges of possession stolen vehicles and trafficking stolen property.

“It would be nice if you can get them for running a chop shop operation,” Lawler said.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. fivecardstud says:

    I bet they get more time than the ones that beat up the old cyclist. Sad when property is more important than human life.

  2. Wonder if they are the ones who stole my 97′ Nissan Truck in August of 2010? I live on South 46th Stree.

  3. escapefromTacoma says:

    Maybe related to the officer involved shooting of the suspect in the stolen car the other night?

  4. Clarktribnet says:

    Probably stole my 95 Pathfinder. Never recoverd. I’m just down the street.

  5. truthbusterguy says:

    Were these russians?
    Why don’t we every hear the origin of these crooks?

  6. m9078jk3 says:

    Back in the early 1980’s I had a car stolen and it was gutted for the parts along with 10,000 (yes that’s right 10,000) other stolen cars in the Tacoma-University-Fircrest area.It turned out that a entire wrecking yard was used for the operation.That’s been over 3 decades ago.Surprised that chop shop operations are not specifically illegal.Perhaps the lawmakers get a big kickback so no law with justly harsh penalties against this specific racketeering is passed.Perhaps we should go back to better times when horse thieves were justly hanged.I see nothing unjust about hanging a car thief.The Law enforcement “industry” wouldn’t like it though as if their clients disappeared they would mostly have to be given the pink slip and laid off of gainful employment in that trade.Car thieves are well known to be involved in other serious crimes as well (drugs,robbery etc).

  7. Alaska47 says:

    After serving their sentences,these thieves should have their driving licenses permenently revoked.What will happen is that they will be out of jail and doing it again.What about restitution?Are cell phone and computer records being checked to locate others involved?It is likely that there are other stolen vehicles at other locations.

  8. Wrapper98439 says:

    How is it not illegal? What part of a chop shop is legal?

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