Three men were arrested Friday on suspicion of being involved in a chop shop operation northeast of Caruthers, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said.
Detectives from the Fresno Help Eliminate Auto Theft task force (HEAT) arrived at a house at 1252 W. Rose Ave., west of Highway 41, after investigating a theft of a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle in Fresno, spokesman Tony Botti said.
The task force inspected the house after they received a tip that an auto repair business was operating there without a license, Botti said.
Detectives found auto parts including engines and transmissions from stolen vehicles, Botti said. A 1994 Ford Mustang stolen from Fresno and a 1968 Mercury Cougar stolen from Oakland in 1991 were among the vehicles found at the alleged chop shop.
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HEAT believes stolen cars were taken to the house to strip parts, Botti said. The cars were ditched in fields across rural Fresno County after the operation was complete.
Parts from the Chevelle were among the parts found during the bust, Botti said. An illegal marijuana grow of 12 plants also was found in the house.
Thomas Roland II, 41, Thomas Roland III, 24, and Jermaine Fuller, 33 were arrested on multiple charges related to operating a suspected chop shop, Botti said. Fuller was already on probation for an earlier chop shop arrest.
HEAT shut down a chop shop at the same location in 2006, when it was run by Thomas Roland II, Botti said.