Chop shop bust in TucsonPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- A major car theft ring on the southwest side was taken down by Tucson police. They not only found a hot car but an illegal operation selling parts.
People living in this neighborhood near Ajo Way and Mission Road are not used to seeing a lot of action involving the police.
"It's pretty quiet. The neighbors are to themselves. When they recognize a vehicle coming and going people get suspicious," said neighbor Linda Valenzuela. "People do work hard around here. Ee're just not that used to seeing cops, that many cops."
That changed Tuesday afternoon. Valenzuela was told to stay in her home while Tucson police surrounded another house in the neighborhood.
"They blocked it from the side of the street so no cars could come in and they blocked from over there," said Valenzuela.
The police swarmed the area after they learned someone brought a stolen car to this house.
The car was equipped with a Lo Jack system; a transmitter that helps authorities find it if it's stolen.
But while investigating, police found much more than just the one stolen vehicle.
"We also discovered another vehicle that had been reported stolen out of the sheriff's department in early February," said Tucson Police Sgt. James Wakefield.
Investigators believe the home is a chop shop. An illegal operation consisting of stealing cars and selling the parts.
They say the front end of the stolen car was removed in less than three hours.
"They could move pretty quick, there very skilled, even though the name is a chop shop, people kind of get the misconception that its a business or a warehouse or something like that what we find most often is that they're residences,"
To hear that a possible chop shop was near her home was pretty surprising to Valenzuela.
"I was shocked to see that going on especially so close," said Valenzuela.
The car's security system helped Tucson police find the stolen car and uncover the chop shop. They encourage everyone to invest in one. And always lock their car doors.