The Leon County Sheriff's Office is also trying to track down a ring of vehicle parts thieves spanning a number of counties. We first told you back in June about this chop shop operation and how authorities recovered more than $300,000 in stolen car parts in a number of places in Leon County.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office called undercover agents with the Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division for assistance four months ago. Since that time Bobby Tubb, the owner of Tubb Collision in Centerville and his half-brother Jonathon Nicholas were arrested for running an alleged chop shop.
At the collision center, sheriff's deputies discovered several stolen high-end pick-up trucks, jeeps, utility trailers and stolen vehicle parts.
Several days later, a search warrant was served on a storage facility in Flynn where investigators recovered an estimated $60,000, 2013 Chevy Camaro.
Not too long after that, sheriff's deputies responded to a welfare call in the Riverland Acres community.
Neighbor’s crew concerned after seeing a man who appeared to be unconscious in his vehicle. It turned out, the man was sleeping. He allegedly told investigators he couldn't sleep in the place he lived due the fact it was filled with stolen car parts.
"After responding to a welfare call off of Private Road 1220 here in Leon County, authorities say they discovered several vacant houses filled with Stolen and vacant car parts."
We had contacted the DPS aircraft division and even flew over this area and were not able to see anything, but it happens to see the area of some of the family members of the suspects.
Detectives found several vehicles that were not only chopped up, but altered.
“Cars were being altered by taking the VIN numbers plates off and or grinding down the VIN numbers off the body,” said Smith.
It's unclear exactly how long the chop shop has been going on, or even, how many more stolen cars are unaccounted for.
"Since the investigation we've recovered roughly $300,000 in vehicles and vehicle parts and since then, we've recovered so much more, we can't even put a number on it,” Smith said.
For now, Tubb Collision remains closed indefinitely.
Jonathan Nicholas was indicted for theft in federal court in Waco last week; he is out of jail on bond. Thirty-year-old Bobby Tubb remains in the Leon County Jail on 1-million dollars bond.
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