‘Chop shop’ uncovered

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton looks over some of the numerous items found at a chop shop operation discovered Wednesday in a wooded area on Cannady Road in the Garland area. The evidence was still being processed Thursday, with suspects and additional information sought.

GARLAND — On Thursday, Sampson County Sheriff’s authorities were still processing the scene of a massive “chop shop” operation and working to identify the suspects who attempted to conceal stolen items in a wooded area in southern Sampson County.

Investigators from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous tip Wednesday regarding the chop shop oepration on Cannady Road, located between Garland and Harrells. Cannady Road extends north to south, connecting N.C. 41 and N.C. 411. There in the wooded area, investigators discovered an 18-wheeler, a Ford pickup truck, an International fuel truck, three 18-wheeler frames and several trailer frames.

Since uncovering the stolen items Wednesday, Sampson County Sheriff’s have continued to process the crime scene in an attempt to identify what was deemed “an enormous amount” of stolen heavy equipment, authorities said. In essence, a chop shop is a place where stolen vehicles are dismantled so the parts can be sold or re-used to repair other stolen vehicles.

In addition to sheriff’s officials, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles Enforcement was called in to assist in the investigation of the operation. No suspects were located on the scene, however investigators are following up on leads to identify those responsible.

“Investigators are still on the scene and will remain on the scene throughout the day processing evidence,” Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Pope said Thursday.

Anyone with information concerning the “chop shop” operation is encouraged to contact the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-592-4141. The anonymous Sampson County Sheriff’s Tip Line is 910-564-5261.