Three Charged with Operating a Chop Shop in Oconee County
Oconee County Sheriff's deputies say they witnessed a stolen car from Athens-Clarke County being dismantled in a yard on Sam Cooper Road. An arrest doesn't mean a conviction.
Oconee County Sheriff's deputies Saturday acting on a tip made three arrests at a Sam Cooper Road address related to the alleged operation of a chop shop.
At the scene around 9:45 a.m., deputies say they found a white Chevrolet Chevelle that appeared to be in the process of being dismantled but no one was around. The car was reported stolen from a Lexington Heights driveway on Feb. 15, according to an ACCPD report.
About 10 minutes later, according to the deputies' reports, three men arrived in a truck and began to dismantle the car again.
The suspects were taken into custody and the deputies searched the truck. They say they found a quantity of cocaine, plastic bags and a small folding knife with cocaine residue on the blade. They also seized a cell phone and a CD player that appeared to have been removed from a vehicle and found $441 and another cell phone in one of the men's pockets, according to reports.
John Thomas Chambers, 21, of South Billups Street in Athens, Troy Latrell Cooper, 37, of Sam Cooper Road in Oconee County, and Gregory Thomas, 52, of Kennedy Road in Athens were each charged with operating a chop shop, possession of the tools for the commission of a crime, theft by receiving stolen property, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Additionally Chambers and Cooper were charged with possession of drug related objects.
The Chevelle, the suspects' truck, hand tools, an engine hoist, and a floor jack were taken to the Oconee Sheriff's Office for safe storage, the report stated. Seizures were to be filed on the tools, truck and cash, and Clarke County was making arrangements to retrieve the stolen Chevelle, deputies said.