Alleged illegal chop shop
DALLAS –– Police on Wednesday dismantled an illegal chop shop operation in West Dallas that's alleged to have stripped parts from at least 15 stolen vehicles.
According to an arrest affidavit, an anonymous tip pointed detectives to a body shop in the 2300 block of Hardwick Street. The document says a man known as Manny was stripping stolen cars and had a few employees working for him.
And so, at 10 a.m. Wednesday, two Dallas Police Department detectives parked outside and began surveillance. It didn’t take long for Michael Hernandez to show up in a black Dodge pickup.
Twenty minutes after pulling in, the 17-year-old cruised out of the location with the bed loaded with vehicle parts covered by a black tarp, the affidavit alleges. The two detectives trailed Hernandez to Jacob’s Iron and Metal Scrap Yard in the 3100 block of Pluto Street.
He was pulled over after committing “numerous traffic violations,” the document says, and quickly informed police that his truck bed was full of stolen vehicle parts.
“I’m in a bad situation,” he allegedly told the detectives. “I have some stolen parts and doors in the bed of my truck, but I need money for my family.”
In the bed: Four doors, parts of a frame and paperwork from a 2003 Chevrolet 2500 pickup reported stolen out of Grand Prairie and paperwork from a 2006 Ford F-250 reported stolen out of Dallas.
Hernandez was arrested and the truck was towed.
Police went back to the West Dallas chop shop and canvassed the area. Jesus Faz was detained first; he was standing outside the shop and told detectives he owned it. Also there: Adolpho Hernandez, later identified as Manny from the initial tip. A man named Jose Mata was also questioned and later arrested.
The document says Faz told detectives that he had legal contract work that he focused on. He said he simply allowed Adolpho Hernandez to use the space. He didn’t ask any questions.
Faz consented to a search. The document says police found two dismantled trucks on the property –– they were the stolen Ford F250 and Chevrolet 2500 that the younger Hernandez had inside his Dodge pickup truck earlier in the day.
Detectives found the hood, bed, fenders and seats of the Chevrolet. They valued the loss at $15,000. Also, the document says detectives observed Adolpho Hernandez, Mata and Flores moving its truck bed around the shop.
“The motors and transmissions of these vehicles were not recovered at this time,” the affidavit says.
Michael Hernandez told detectives that Adolpho ordered him to go to the shop and take the stripped parts to the scrap yard. The document says he also admitted to being involved in stripping parts of at least 15 stolen trucks.
All but Faz were arrested, the affidavit says. Mata is charged with two counts of theft between $1,500 and $20,000 and display of a fictitious license plate. He’s being held in the Dallas County Jail in spite of $202,500 bond because of his immigration status, jail records show.
Michael and Adolpho Hernandez do not appear to have been booked into jail yet, according to county records. The affidavit indicates they’ll also be charged with two counts of theft between $1,500 and $20,000, however.