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Arrest warrants issued in junk car theft ring

Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 8:08 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 1:26 AM
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Grand jury arrest warrants have been issued for seven people linked to a two-year “stolen automobile for cash” scheme that resulted in the theft of 104 cars from Southern Pik-A-Part.

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The warrants follow a nine-month embezzlement investigation by the Rich­mond County Sheriff’s Office, according to a police statement Monday.

Sgt. Shane McDaniel said the agency was notified of the scheme in December 2012 after a Southern Pik-A-Part audit found several vehicles missing from the its inventory.

The investigation found that the cars were removed without permission of the company, and that the scheme was organized by employees and several businesses with licenses in Augusta. Two of the suspects were involved with local used car dealerships.

In addition to the stolen vehicles, police say more than $99,000 was taken over a period of 18 months.

Police recovered 34 vehicles at Norris Used Auto Sales at 2543 Peach Orchard Road. Brown’s Automotive at 1555 Doug Barnard Parkway housed 11 of the vehicles, and four vehicles were found in the 600 block of Dennis Drive in Martinez.

Eleven vehicles were sold on the street, and 44 of the stolen vehicles were still missing as of Monday afternoon.

McDaniel said the sheriff’s office thinks the “junk cars” were being sold as parts and for their metal.

Police arrested Den­nis Ray McDaniel, 49, of Martinez; Joshua Tyler McDan­iel, 23, of Martinez; Jeffery Bernard Norris, 49, of Augusta; Christopher Brown, 36, of Augusta; Michael Tracy Kerr, 50, of Augusta; and Timothy Len Bailey, 40, of Augusta, on felony charges of theft by taking.

Tammie Car­lesha John­son, 29, of Augusta, turned herself in Mon­day evening, jail records show.

Author­ities say Dennis Mc­Daniel was the operations manager at Southern Pik-A-Part at the time of the investigation. John­son was an accounts manager with the company and Bailey was a wrecker driver, according to the statement. Dennis McDaniel and Joshua Mc­Daniel are the co-owners of Junk in the Box, a trash removal service based in Augusta.

Norris was identified as an employee of Norris Used Auto Sales. Kerr and
Brown were identified as employees of Kerr Motors and Brown’s Automotive, respectively.

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nocnoc 09/10/13 - 08:07 am
Next time you see a "curb stone" car at an empty store lot,

remember 11 vehicles were sold on the street likely in this way.

We have had such a situation going on now for several years at the corner of Tobacco Rd and Hwy 56.

I have been wondering if & when RCSO would start cracking down of "unlicensed" (Curb Stoning) Car lots?

Because, while a Licensed Car Dealer must disclose mechanical issues by Law. They don't have to if they "Curb Stone" it and treat it as a private sell.

carcraft 09/10/13 - 08:37 pm
Good point nocnoc, I wonder

Good point nocnoc, I wonder if any of the cars were rebuilt and sold with a salvage license?

Darby 09/10/13 - 10:51 pm
Was this just someone

running his own private "Cash for Clunkers" operation?

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