Vehicle Theft Arrests Made in Arizona

Fifteen-month investigation leads to Phoenix-area salvage yards.

October 23, 2013
Recycling Today Staff

A number of Arizona law enforcement agencies have announced the arrests of 19 people tied to a criminal organization that operated out of salvage yards owned and operated by Hendrix Salvage and Hendrix LLC.

Over the last 15 months, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS),  the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office have been conducting an investigation they called Operation Tin Man.

According to the DPS, Hendrix Salvage was involved in a number of criminal activities, including trafficking in stolen property. Hendrix provided an avenue for auto theft suspects in the area to sell or dispose of vehicles they had stolen, says DPS. The stolen vehicles were brought to the different company locations by the car thieves and destroyed so they could be sold as scrap metal. Several of the vehicles were actually falsely reported as stolen as part of an insurance fraud scheme and destroyed. Additionally, metal known to be stolen was being purchased by the enterprise, according to the DPS.

On Oct. 16, 2013, search warrants were served at several salvage yards in Phoenix, plus yards in Coolidge and Tucson, Ariz. Search warrants also were served on other locations, such as the suspect’s residences.

Assisting DPS was the Phoenix Police Department, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the Glendale Police Department, the Goodyear Police Department, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures. Numerous other agencies assisted throughout the investigation.

During the operation, 19 people were arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail, the Pinal County Jail and the Pima County Jail. The charges range from “participating in a criminal syndicate, trafficking in stolen property, warrants and drug charges,” according to the DPS.

The primary suspects in the operation include Steve Hendrix, Shane Hendrix Jr., Cornelius Hendrix and Charles Flowers. The law enforcement agencies say the investigation is ongoing.