Authorities say a tip alerted them to an alleged chop shop in the 1800 block of FM 1187 in northwest Mansfield.
The Tri County Auto Theft Task Force raided a home March 3 and found a 2004 Nissan Xterra and a 2002 Volkswagen stripped of all major parts. They also arrested a man on the scene, Louis Anthony Duran, on various drug charges.
Duran, who was armed with semi-automatic pistol, was cooperative with authorities and led them to the garage.
“We do believe there’s other people involved and our investigation still continues,” said Stan Davis, task force commander.
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The arrest occurred in the neighborhood across the street from Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary School. It was after 5 p.m. so school was out for the day.
The task force works with Mansfield and several other cities and counties to investigate auto break-ins and to raise awareness of auto theft.
The SUV and the car were stolen recently from Arlington and Colleyville. What’s left of the vehicles will likely become property of the owners’ insurance companies and sold at auction.
Both were older vehicles, which is fairly common because there’s more demand for those parts, Davis said.
Chop shops typically sell the parts to metal recyclers or online via Craigslist, Davis said.
Chop shops in the city usually only have a few vehicles but the rural ones could have dozens of vehicles at a time.
This underscores the importance of locking your vehicle and keeping valuable items out of sight. Up to 90 percent of stolen vehicles are unlocked in Mansfield, Davis said.