Clearwater man accused of running chop shop in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Police accused a salvage owner of stealing vehicles and running a chop shop.

Scott Sands, who owns Independent Salvage at 3101 Emerson Ave. S, was arrested late Tuesday on charges of auto theft, title certificate fraud, dealing in stolen property and operating a chop shop.

This is what police say happened:

Detective Tim Brown of the auto theft unit went to Sands' shop and saw employees cutting a 1990 Lexus LS400 into four pieces. Police determined that the car had been stolen Oct. 25 not far from the shop.

Detectives returned Tuesday and found a 2005 Ford F-450 that had been reported stolen to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office March 20. The truck had "Independent Salvage" logos painted on both doors.

Detectives also discovered that Sands faked destruction certificates for two other vehicles.

Detectives seized 10 tow trucks belonging to the business.

Sands was arrested at 10 p.m. Tuesday at his home at 2661 Peachtree Circle E in Clearwater. He was being held in lieu of $40,000 bail.

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Clearwater man accused of running chop shop in St. Petersburg 12/08/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 3:42pm]

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