Alleged chop shop discovered as police work a truck theft

While arriving at the scene of a reported stolen pickup truck Wednesday morning, Las Vegas police made an unexpected discovery: A chop shop with an estimated $350,000 worth of stolen construction equipment and auto parts.

Lt. Robert DuVall said officers who responded to the stolen vehicle call at 5050 Steptoe St., near Tropicana Avenue and Boulder Highway, learned that an area of a warehouse was being used to store stolen goods.

DuVall, head of the Metropolitan Police Department's property crimes detail, said police found parts from five cars, including a Honda, an Acura and a Porsche Boxster.

DuVall said no arrests had been made as of Wednesday afternoon, but four adults -- three men and one woman -- had been detained for questioning.

He said this was the largest bust of a local chop shop operation in a few years, adding that the discovery of the theft ring might lead to larger discoveries.

"We'll see the extent of it in the coming days and months," he said.

By the afternoon, eight people had already visited the grounds of the warehouse looking for stolen items, DuVall said.

He said some officers couldn't help but show their glee over the bust.

"This is what they live for," he said, pointing to a few officers scanning the grounds of the warehouse where the stolen goods were laid out. "You come and get the guys with the stolen stuff, and you can get the stolen stuff back to their owners. ... There's really nothing better in the world."

People who have had either construction or auto parts stolen are advised that they can check to see whether Las Vegas police have the items by calling 828-3573.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at or 702-383-4638.