By P. Palak
Kelowna, British Columbia â€“ February 28, 2014 -- The RCMP have uncovered an alleged chop shop near Vernon, British Columbia. Among the items recovered are seven trucks, two quads, an ATV and a travel trailer from an auto yard were included. These items were seized from a chop shop located north of Vernon last week.
RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk said a number of the vehicles were dismantled. At least one vehicle-identification number is said to have been altered.
Molendyk confirmed that the police were tipped off by a member of the public that there was an active chop shop operating in the 2200 block of the Highway 97 region in the Spallumcheen district. Officers obtained a search warrant and searched the premises, which resulted in finding a number of stolen vehicles, including six Ford F350 pickup trucks and a 2006 Dodge pickup.
The site was unoccupied when it was raided by the police. The investigators are said to have questioned the owners. Molendyk said the individuals involved in the chop shop activities are likely to not be in possession of a business license and â€œâ€¦ may have leased or subleased the acreage.â€
Molendyk has confirmed that the investigation is ongoing and the RCMP are looking into whether the property owners were involved. So far no charges have been laid.
Molendyk said these vehicles included seven of those that were reported stolen this year and in 2013. His estimates suggest that the total haul is worth about $300,000.
Just last week, a separate case saw a man from West Kelowna sentenced to 18 months of house arrest on charges of operating a chop shop which sold stolen vehicles and modified vehicle numbers.