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Chop shop found in rural Sampson County; authorities seeking to ID suspects

Posted July 2, 2015

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— Investigators from the Sampson County Sheriff's Office are working to identify suspects after discovering a chop shop in a wooded area in the southern part of the county.

According to a police spokesman, investigators found an 18-wheeler, Ford pickup truck, International fuel truck, three 18-wheeler frames and several trailer frames on Wednesday in a wooded area on Cannady Road south of Clinton.

“We’ve never had anything like this in Sampson County,” Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said.

Authorities said the vehicles came from several counties including, Pitt, Harnett and two each from Wake and Davidson counties.

“A $2,000 freightliner that was undamaged,” Thornton said. “It was next in line to be destroyed. And it was taken from Davidson County.”

Thornton said the chop shop operation also created what could be an “environmental nightmare” for the property owner.

“You’re looking at diesel fuel, you’re looking at oil, you’re looking at all kinds of contaminants that in this soil,” he said. “And it’s going to have to be dealt with. Whoever owns the property is probably going to have a tremendous cleanup bill.”

A chop shop is an illegal business that disassembles stolen vehicles for the purpose of selling them as parts.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Enforcement is assisting investigators on the scene. No suspects were found at the shop, but an investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information should call the Sampson County Sheriff's Office at 910-592-4141.

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  • Paul Jones Jul 2, 2015
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    "Whoever owns the property is probably going to have a tremendous cleanup bill."

    Why should the property owner be required to clean it up? Either leave it or let the county clean it up and bill the criminals. It can be funded using the stolen vehicles that are not damaged.