Crime & Courts
Polk man faces 68 counts of operating chop shop
Following a multi-department investigation, a Mulberry man was charged with more than 60 counts in connection with a chop shop deputies say he was operating on a 10-acre property. Polk County deputies on Sunday arrested Gary Williams, 30, after they received information that Williams was running the chop shop from a home owned by Oliver Jennings at 4195 Hillgrade Road. After a search, deputies found several stolen pieces of heavy equipment, trailers, trucks, and vehicle components that were reported stolen in Polk and Hillsborough counties since 2011. According to interviews with Williams' family members, Williams claims he purchases vehicles and parts to salvage out. Detectives located evidence that Williams is selling stolen vehicle parts on Craigslist.Among the 68 charges, Williams faces 21 counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, and 19 counts of possession or sale of a motor vehicle with an altered VIN. According to court documents, bond has been set at $10,000 for each count, and Williams cannot post bond until he can prove that the money is coming from a legitimate, non-criminal source. The investigation is ongoing.