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Tip leads HCSO deputies to 'chop shop'

Saturday, September 22, 2012
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A "chop shop" operation was dismantled and five people were arrested after a two-hour standoff in north Harris County.

Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies said they were investigating an abandoned, stripped vehicle in the 12900 block of Mosielee with a citizen gave them a tip about a possible vehicle stripping operation nearby.

Authorities went to the scene in the 3100 block of Brownie Campbell Road in north Harris County. One man was arrested immediately, but four others inside a trailer refused to come out.

SkyEye13 HD was overhead as they surrendered and were taken into custody. In all, three men and two women were arrested. Their names and charges were not released.

Deputies said they found at least 17 vehicles on the property. All were confirmed stolen.

With bumpers, tires and other car parts littering the ground, it looks like it could be a mechanic shop. That's what the landlord thought, as well. They tell us they had no idea anything suspicious was happening on their property.

"We thought they were doing a repair shop," the landlord said. "They were taking apart parts of all these vehicles. We didn't think, 'hey, they're going to steal vehicles and coming back with them.' We just got really shocked when we got the phone call."

Neighbors were also surprised.

"There was a wife and husband that used to live here and they had a little baby, but I guess they weren't here yesterday," one neighbor said. "Their friends live here, according to them, I guess."

According to officials, this is a perfect example of "if you see something, say something." You can send anonymous tips to HCSO via the free smartphone app iWatchHarrisCounty.

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