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Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force Busts Alleged Chop Shops

February 11, 2009

SNOWFLAKE, AZ --- As part of an investigation dubbed Operation Big Rig II, the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force on Jan. 24 busted an alleged commercial vehicle chop shop just outside of Snowflake, AZ, and made two arrests.

Officials seized two semi-tractors, seven semi-trailers, a Caterpillar 920 loader, and eight major component parts. One of the semi-trailers contained $200,000 worth of new industrial ice machines.

The Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force is administered by the state's Department of Public Safety.

The following day, Jan. 25, the task force served another search warrant at a business in Snowflake and seized two semi-tractors, one semi-trailer, four major component parts and chop shop tools. Three more stolen semi-trailers were recovered from the Snowflake property between Jan. 25 and Feb. 4.

On Feb. 4, the task force executed two additional search warrants in Apache Junction and Mesa related to the ongoing investigation. More evidence was seized linking two suspects to the 15 stolen semi-tractors and their organized operation of a large-scale chop shop, the department said. 

"This is the largest seizure of a commercial vehicle chop shop since the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force began operating. DPS is proud to coordinate the efforts of this task force and we applaud the excellent police work that resulted in these arrests," said Roger Vanderpool, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.


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