Alleged Chop Shop Busted in Centerville

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

An alleged chop shop has been busted in Leon County. Investigators say they found stolen vehicles and parts at Tubb Collision Center in Centerville. Two men have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the crime and the auto shop could be at the center of a statewide investigation.

It all began with an anonymous tip that ultimately led authorities from one another.

“The total amount that we're looking at so far is $300, 000,” said Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis.

Four weeks ago investigators with the Leon County Sheriff's Office teamed up with the DPS Criminal Investigation Division out of Bryan and have since unearthed nearly a half-million dollars in stolen vehicle parts, including more than a dozen high-end vehicles.

“These are the top of the line vehicles, you know the dodge product vehicles, the Longhorn series that have all leather interior,” Ellis added.

One of those vehicles is a brand new $60,000 Chevy Camaro; it was discovered in a storage shed along with more stolen car parts.

“They were bringing them here and taking them and selling different parts and taking frames of vehicles, salvaged vehicles that had been wrecked and putting the new parts on the frames,” said Ellis.

Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis says a trail of tips led his detectives to a collision repair shop tucked away in the thick woods of Centerville. During a search warrant at Tubb Collision Center, authorities discovered two stolen jeeps, utility trailers and stolen vehicle parts -- and now the owner is behind bars.

"It was a working body shop, but they were taking in stolen vehicles and we believe they were just gutting the cars,” said Ellis.

It was a working body shop -- until now. U.S. Marshal's arrested both suspects at a hotel in San Antonio. They believe the two were trying to flee the country. The owner, 30-year-old Bobby Tubb is sitting in the Leon County Jail on $1M bond; his half brother Jonathan Nichols is behind bars on $100,000 bond. Both are charged with theft. Investigators are interviewing more suspects.

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