Police bust chop shop on Detroit’s west side

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Police busted an alleged chop shop on the city’s west side Wednesday and arrested a 36-year-old man believed to have run the operation.

Parts of a stolen vehicle sit in a garage in the 19300 block of Rutherford.

The arrest came after a three-day police surveillance of a home in the 19300 block of Rutherford near Greenfield and Eight Mile. Police received information about the operation following another investigation, said Sgt. Jonathan Parnell with the Detroit Police Department Commercial Auto Theft unit.

The suspect was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he was observed working on vehicles in the driveway and in front of the house, Parnell said, announcing the arrest from the scene. While executing a search warrant, officers found on the property vehicles that were reported stolen as well as vehicles likely waiting for repair.

“In many instances the parts of stolen vehicles are used to facilitate repairs for other vehicles that are not stolen, outside of just taking an opportunity to sell parts to generate proceeds,” Parnell said.

Police are seeking a charge of running a chop shop and multiple counts of receiving and concealing property. At this point there is only one suspect identified in the operation, Parnell said.

“From the dates of thefts this appears to have been going on for several months,” he said. “Based on the conditions of the vehicles that are here, they appear to have been here for quite some time.”

Police busted an alleged chop shop at this home in the 19300 block of Rutherford.

In addition to being illegal and an eyesore for neighbors, chop shop operations pose an environmental concern, Parnell said.

“That’s the main reason for not allowing major mechanical work to be done in a residential area,” he said. “It’s an environmental hazard, a safety hazard. A spark could be generated and then you’d have a combustible fire.”

The vehicles on the property will be impounded and their registered owners contacted.

“We’re trying to combat this one location at a time,” Parnell said. “We’re only as good as the community giving us the information.”

Anyone with information on suspected chop shops is asked to call the Detroit Police Department Commercial Auto Theft unit at (313) 596-2555 or the tip line 1-800-242-HEAT. There is up to a $10,000 reward for the discovery of chop shops leading to arrests. Callers can remain anonymous.