Local News

Durham police break up auto 'chop shop'

Posted September 27, 2012 12:46 p.m. EDT

— A Durham man was charged Thursday in connection with an automotive "chop shop" police discovered this week.

Samer Fakhri Othman, 35, of Green Hollows Lane, was arrested in Selma, Va., by Virginia State Police and faces four counts each of possession of a stolen vehicle, larceny of a motor vehicle and injury to property.

Officers found the chop shop, in which stolen vehicles are dismantled and their parts sold, in a warehouse at 706 Ellis Road on Tuesday after electronically tracking a vehicle that had been stolen on Angier Avenue near Ellis Road.

A search of the 25,500-square-foot warehouse turned up 24 stolen vehicles from as far away as Texas and New Jersey, police said. Officers also found four wrecker trucks and stolen auto parts from at least 50 vehicles.

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles inspectors and investigators from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are assisting in the investigation.

More charges are pending against Othman, police said.