So-called chop shops are the kind of criminal enterprise often assumed to be more common in big cities to the north than in friendly, down-home North Carolina. Maybe so, but were not immune. Now Durham police say they have busted a major chop shop operating out of a warehouse on Ellis Road complete with four wreckers evidently used to steal the cars targeted for chopping so their parts could be resold.
Heres the twist: The bust came because a GPS-based security device on a stolen SUV worked as intended. Cops tracked the devices signal to the warehouse, where 24 stolen cars were found. The cars were from Durham, Wake County, Texas and New Jersey. Four tow-trucks were on hand, along with parts snagged from at least 50 more vehicles, the police said. One man initially was arrested, in Virginia.
Using wreckers takes car theft to a different level. Fortunately, thieves may now have to reckon with high-tech countermeasures. In Durham, the choppers met their match.