Crime & Courts
Second suspect charged in Polk chop shop case
A second suspect is under arrest in connection with an automotive chop shop in Polk County after a multidepartment investigation.
Cody Caruthers, 24, of 2227 Arch McDonald Drive, Dover, has been charged with dealing in stolen property, possession of burglary tools, owning/operating a chop shop, criminal conspiracy, seven counts tampering with a vehicle identification number, 17 counts burglary of a conveyance, 18 counts of possession/sale of motor vehicle with an altered vehicle identification number, and 20 counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle.
A Mulberry man was charged Sunday with more than 60 counts in connection with the chop shop deputies say he was operating on a 10-acre property.
Gary Williams, 30, was arrested after Polk deputies received information that he 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 said he purchased 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 vehicle identification number.
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, noncriminal source.
The investigation is ongoing.