Stolen cars sold piece by piece

CREATED Nov 12, 2012

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  • Pima Deputies say when a burglary investigation led them to this spot, they found four stolen vehicles and an operation to dismantle them

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - If somebody steals your car, there's a good chance it will not stay in one piece. 

Pima County deputies say they busted a guy who made that his business model.

If you bought your car one part at a time, it would cost many times more than what you paid to buy it all in one piece. To a thief who's also good with a wrench that can be a real money maker.

Your beautiful car, may look a lot better to a thief, one piece at a time because there's a lot of money selling a car for parts.

But Pima Deputies say they found an illegal chop shop on Calle Hohokam.
Deputy Tom Peine says a burglary investigation of a house about eight miles away, led deputies there.

"And they did find four vehicles that turned out to be stolen.  That was an older model Chevy Suburban, a Chevy pick up truck, hydraulic dump trailer, a utility trailer."
They also found thirty year old Gary Lynn Nixon.  Now he's facing four auto theft raps and a charge of running a chop shop.  His earlier record shows arrests for burglary and assault.
Because a chop shop is usually part of a bigger auto theft operation, busting one carries a bigger benefit than hauling in a single car thief.

Deputy Peine says, "It's always a harder hit if we find the or if we disturb a criminal operation at that stage rather than the stage of where they only steal a car and we maybe catch one of them in the act.  So multiple vehicles and this is the profit stage of their criminal enterprise."

Deputies say other factors that drive car theft may be to use the car for other crime, perhaps use it in smuggling or robberies.

Having your vehicle ID number, or VIN etched into glass can help discourage theft. It's worth noting that some parts of your car come from the factory with the VIN stamped in as a way of discouraging theft, and chopping up your car.