PINELLAS PARK — Investigators said a 39-year-old auto mechanic accused of stealing several vehicles and breaking them down for parts was caught after one of his victims tracked down his stolen motorcycles and called authorities.
Bryan Scott Jones, who has home addresses in Clearwater and Hendersonville, Tenn., was arrested Wednesday and charged with operating a chop shop in Pinellas Park, dealing in stolen property, and six counts of grand theft.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation on May 11 after 54-year-old Danny French called to report his trailer containing two Harley-Davidson motorcycles had been stolen and that he had found the trailer at a Hampton Inn at 4050 Ulmerton Road near Largo.
French said he had gone looking for the trailer after it was stolen earlier in the day from 13231 49th St. N in the High Point area of Largo.
French drove into the parking lot of the hotel and blocked the trailer with his vehicle. French said a man who was in the process of hitching the trailer to a pickup truck when he arrived ran away.
Jones was identified after his fingerprints were found on the truck, deputies said.
French, who is from Tennessee, was in the area for work and does not know Jones, authorities said.
On Wednesday, deputies went to Jones' business, an auto repair shop called the Parch Chick at 11181 43rd St. N, Pinellas Park, and found parts of several other stolen vehicles.
Jones admitted to the theft of a 2004 Ford pickup that was reported stolen from Georgia; French's trailer and his 2005 and 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycles; and a 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 and a 1998 Shelby Mustang Cobra that were both reported stolen from Suncoast Jeep Chrysler on Park Boulevard in Seminole, authorities said.
On Friday evening, Jones was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $45,000 bail.