PUYALLUP, Wash. (AP) — Nine suspected car thieves have pleaded not guilty after being arrested in an undercover chop shop operation based in Puyallup.
The Tacoma News Tribune reports that police officers from several jurisdictions worked for three months to set up the shop in an apartment complex garage, where the suspects would dump and sell their stolen cars. A regular chop shop would dismantle the stolen cars.
KOMO News reported that police kept many of the stolen cars in an undisclosed parking lot for weeks and didn’t tell the owners until recently that their cars had been recovered. Police say they didn’t like that the vehicles weren’t returned right away, but were concerned of compromising the operation.
A total of 25 suspects were pinpointed. Eleven have been arrested.